Wednesday, 15 May 1996
Dáil Éireann Debate
146. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Justice the total number of prison places not in use; the current position regarding female accommodation for prisoners in Mountjoy Prison; whether the top landing is in use; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9857/96]
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen): The position is that all usable prison places  are currently occupied. There are 43 female prisoners currently in custody in Mountjoy prison. They are accommodated on two floors of D-Wing, St. Patrick's Institution. The remaining floor of D-Wing is in full use since late February this year and 33 young male prisoners are now held there.
At the health care unit at Mountjoy prison, 38 out of the total of 57 prisoner places in the unit have been out of use following extensive fire damage on 18 December 1995. Refurbishment and fire safety upgrading works at the unit are almost complete and the unit will be returned to full use within the next two weeks.
At Portlaoise prison a total of 60 prisoner places are not in use at present. This is due to operational requirements in relation to the accommodation and management of different groupings of prisoners at this high security prison. Construction works are under way to facilitate rationalisation of accommodation arrangements, thus permitting use of all prisoner places at this prison. These works are due for completion this year.
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