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Question

576. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Justice the date and findings of the most recent studies done on prisoner literacy and numeracy in the State both when they arrive for the sentence and when they leave; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37835/21]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): The Deputy will wish to note that the Irish Prison Service has entered into an agreement with Dublin City University to undertake an audit of the literacy and numeracy levels of people in custody and a PhD scholarship has recently been awarded to a postgraduate researcher to undertake this audit under the supervision of the University.
Education in prisons is delivered in partnership between the Education and Training Board and the Prison Service with a focus on providing education which is quality assured, student centred and which facilitates lifelong learning.
The partnership endeavours to meet the needs of prisoners through helping them cope with their sentence, achieve personal development and prepare for life after release. A broad and flexible curriculum is provided which includes basic literacy and numeracy classes and peer-led tutoring.
The Prison Service collect some demographic information during the Governor’s committal interview. This information is self-reported. 
Based on the most recent snapshot of data from 30 June 2021, 140 out of 3,891 (or 3.6%) of committal prisoners self-reported as illiterate/semi-literate.  
It is important to note that the circumstances of committals can vary, as can the needs of an individual at the time of committal and their willingness to provide accurate information and this can affect the quality of the data collected.