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Question

418. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the total prison population; if she will provide in tabular form the number of prisoners, broken down by prison; the capacity of each prison; the percentage occupation of each prison; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13384/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy is aware the Irish Prison Service collates and publishes the prisoner population breakdown on a daily basis and this information is available on the Irish Prison Service website www.irishprisons.ie.
I can inform the Deputy that on 30th March, 2015, there were 3,748 prisoners in custody as compared to a bed capacity of 4,126. This represents an occupancy level of 91%. A full breakdown to include, capacity, number in custody and percentage of bed capacity is set out in a table.

Institution Bed Capacity Number in Custody % of Bed Capacity
Mountjoy Campus
Mountjoy (Male) 554 557 101%
Mountjoy (Female) 105 106 101%
Training Unit 96 93 97%
St Patrick’s 34 9 26%
West Dublin Campus
Cloverhill 431 319 74%
Wheatfield 550 495 90%
Portlaoise Campus
Midlands 870 813 93%
Portlaoise 291 225 77%
Cork 210 207 99%
Limerick (Male) 220 218 99%
Limerick (Female) 28 18 64%
Castlerea 340 325 96%
Arbour Hill 142 139 98%
Loughan House 140 119 85%
Shelton Abbey 115 105 91%
Totals 4,126 3,748 91%

As outlined in the Irish Prison Service Three Year Strategic Plan 2012 - 2015, it is intended to align the bed capacity of our prisons with the guidelines laid down by the Inspector of Prisons, in so far as this is compatible with public safety and the integrity of the criminal justice system. This has been completed for 9 out of the 14 prisons in the State. The number in custody on 30th March (3,748) represented 91% of the Inspector of Prisons recommended total of 3,982.
The Deputy will be aware that the average number of prisoners in custody in Ireland rose from 3,321 during 2007 to 4,318 during 2012, an increase of over 30%. Likewise the total number of committals to prison also rose sharply during the same period, from 11,934 in 2007 to 17,026 in 2012 – an increase of over 43%.
2013 saw the first significant decrease in prison numbers since 2007. There were 15,735 committals to prison in 2013 which was a decrease of 7.6% on the 2012 figure. The overall daily average number of prisoners in custody has also dropped in recent years. The average number in custody for 2014 was 3,916 a reduction of 10.8% on the 2011 average of 4,390.
The Deputy may wish to note that the number in custody reached a peak of 4,621 on 23rd February 2011. Today there are 873 less prisoners in custody which represents a decrease of 19%.