Dáil Éireann - Volume 628 - 22 November, 2006

Written Answers. - Irish Prison Service.

Mr. Cuffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the purpose and terms of reference of the delegation of Irish Prison Service officials that visited prisons in Spain earlier in 2006; the officials who com[313] prised the delegation; if a report or other document was prepared based upon the delegation’s visit; the countries to which similar delegations have taken place in 2006 or are planned for 2006 and 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39316/06]

  Mr. McDowell: As part of the Project Management Structure for the Thornton Hall Development a sub committee of the Project Board was established to consider design issues. As part of the design process a delegation from the committee looked at prison systems in other countries. The terms of reference for this delegation was to inform the Thornton Hall Design committee of developments in penology, security and technological advances in other jurisdictions. The visits were highly informative in the context of the development of the design concept for the new prison development at Thornton Hall.

In this context, a number of Prison Service personnel visited SIEP, the Spanish agency with responsibilities for their prison building programme. The visit also included a visit to a recently built prison. The members of the delegation were; Director of Prison Operations, Director of Regimes, Head of Estate Management, Prison Governor, Mountjoy Prison,Governor of Works, Building Services Division, Representative from Jacobs Engineering, Technical Adviser. Similar delegations visited prison institutions in the UK, Norway, Denmark and USA. A detailed technical report was prepared in respect of each prison visit and further visits outside the jurisdiction will be considered from time to time as appropriate.