545. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners in rehabilitative training at any one time in each prison; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20845/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Deputy will be aware from my replies to previous Parliamentary Questions that the Irish Prison Service provides a wide range of rehabilitative programmes that include education, vocational training, healthcare, psychiatric, psychological, counselling, welfare and spiritual services. These programmes are available in all prisons and all prisoners are eligible to use the services. On committal, all prisoners are interviewed by the Governor and are informed of the services available in the prison. At this point prisoners may be referred to services or they can self refer at a later date. Where Governors consider, on the information available, that a prisoner needs a particular intervention they will initiate a referral.
The Irish Prison Service has also been expanding the number of accredited vocational courses and opportunities available to prisoners in Work Training in recent years. Enhanced partnership arrangements with accrediting bodies such as City and Guilds, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), and the Guild of Launders and Cleaners and the centralising of coordination and quality assurance arrangements have enabled the Irish Prison Service to extend the number of available courses and activities with certification.
The development of prisoner programmes forms a central part of the Irish Prison Service Three Year Strategic Plan 2012 - 2015. There is a clear commitment in the Strategy to enhance sentence planning including Integrated Sentence Management and the delivery of prison based rehabilitative programmes such as education, work training and resettlement programmes.
The table underneath shows the most recent figures available (March 2015) of the average prisoner participation in education and vocational training. It should be noted that a prisoner may participate in more than one activity.
|Institution||Education - Average Prisoner Participation in March 2015||Vocational Training - Average Prisoner Participation in March 2015||Average number in custody on March 2015|
|St Patrick's Institution||99||24||10|
|Total Average Participation||1,684||1,050||3,773|