Thursday, 5 February 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
124. Ms Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the facilities available to the prisoners transferred from the Curragh to the Midlands Prison; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that they have still not received their personal belongings, including clothing; his views on whether, due to the category of prisoners involved, special measures should be put in place to ensure their protection and wellbeing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3518/04]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): On 19 and 20 of January 85 prisoners were transferred to the prison from the Curragh Place of Detention. The prison is a well equipped modern institution and the prisoners transferred are accommodated in single cells. The facilities available in the Midlands Prison are considered to be at least on a par with those previously experienced in the Curragh Place of Detention.
The logistics associated with a move are not inconsiderable. For example, standard procedure in our prisons is that all property, personal or otherwise, of those committed to custody must be recorded and searched in accordance with the regulations. The procedure also applies to the property of prisoners transferred from one place of detention to another. Due to the number of prisoners and the large volume of property the procedures required were extended over a number of days. The issue has been resolved and all of the prisoners concerned have received their personal belongings and clothing.
It is normal procedure to segregate prisoners in the system who may be at risk from other prisoners in the general prison population. The procedure has been applied in this instance and the prisoners transferred are located on a new protection landing in the Midlands Prison.
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