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419. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners kept in the new Cork prison above the peak capacity figure throughout 2018; the reason the peak capacity figure was breached; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54235/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I wish to inform the Deputy that the statistics requested in relation to the number of prisoners kept in Cork prison above the peak capacity figure throughout 2018 are provided on the following table.
I can advise the Deputy that Cork Prison is the committal prison for male prisoners from the counties of Cork, Kerry and Waterford and that the current operational bed capacity figure for the Prison is 296. In 2018 the average daily population figure was 288.
The Deputy will appreciate that prison Governors are required by law to accept all prisoners into their custody who have been committed to prison by the Courts. The Irish Prison Service therefore has no control over the numbers committed to custody at any given time.
Finally, I am further advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that the actual number of beds available on a given day can be less than the capacity figure as cells may be unavailable for different reasons such as repairs and maintenance. Furthermore, where local management assess a prisoner as being unsuited to share a cell for reasons of vulnerability or propensity to violence, a cell designated as being operationally suitable for two prisoners may, temporarily, house only one prisoner.
Where the number of prisoners exceeds the maximum capacity in any prison, my officials make every effort to deal with this through a combination of inter-prison transfers and structured Temporary Release.
Decisions in relation to temporary release are considered on a case by case basis and the safety of the public is paramount when decisions are made.

Date Number in Custody Number above 296 capacity
27th February 2018 299 3
28th February 2018 299 3
1st March 2018 299 3
2nd March 2018 301 5
5th March 2018 301 5
15th March 2018 304 8
22nd March 2018 298 2
23rd March 2018 299 3
26th March 2018 297 1
27th March 2018 301 5
14th May 2018 298 2
15th May 2018 299 3
16th May 2018 299 3
17th May 2018 303 7
11th June 2018 298 2
12th June 2018 299 3
13th June 2018 300 4
14th June 2018 300 4
21st June 2018 298 2
26th June 2018 299 3
27th June 2018 303 7
28th June 2018 307 11
29th June 2018 310 14
2nd July 2018 313 17
3rd July 2018 310 14
4th July 2018 314 18
17th  July 2018 300 4
18th July 2018 297 1
19th July 2018 297 1
20th August 2018 300 4
8th November 2018 297 1
15th November 2018 298 2
4th December 2018 301 5
5th December 2018 301 5
6th December 2018 303 7
7th December 2018 303 7
10th December 2018 299 3
11th December 2018 298 2
12th December 2018 297 1
Total  195