124. Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked the Minister for Justice if her Department will consider a separate wing for 18- and 19-year-olds within Wheatfield Prison; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51635/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that there are no plans to accommodate 18 and 19 year olds together on a separate wing within Wheatfield Prison.
The creation of such separate unit, in Wheatfield or in any other Prison, would be a major policy decision which would require careful consideration and assessment given its operational implications for the Prison Service, particularly in terms of space and management of the Prison population.  
Prisoners aged 18 years and over are sent to the committal prison designated for their county in a direction under Section 17(3) of the Criminal Justice Administration Act 1914 - which is commonly known as the Consolidated Committal Order. It is however the practice of the Irish Prison Service, where possible, to subsequently accommodate prisoners close to their family homes to facilitate better contact with their families.