Belfast Telegraph

New Cork prison in car park planned

Plans for a new prison to deal with chronic overcrowding in Cork are being considered by the Government.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said building a new facility in the car park of the current prison would be better value for money for the taxpayer.

It would also stop almost 250 prisoners who share 141 cells from slopping out - emptying buckets used as toilets - every day, he added.

Mr Shatter said accommodation in Cork prison is wholly inadequate, both in terms of its size and its lack of in-cell sanitation.

"The construction of a new, modern 250-space prison would eliminate the practice of prisoners having to slop out, provide adequate and suitable accommodation for all prisoners in accordance with our national and international obligations and would also provide the infrastructure necessary for the education and rehabilitation of prisoners, thus enhancing public safety," he said.

Mr Shatter ordered a review of facilities in Cork after witnessing first hand the chronic levels of overcrowding and inadequate physical infrastructure.

Average population numbers have since been cut from 295 last year to 250, with inmates moved to other facilities or given early or temporary release.

Officials recommended replacing the existing prison with a new facility in its car park and highlighted ways to ease overcrowding with better multi-agency interventions to stop prisoners re-offending.

An earlier proposal to build a new prison in Kilworth, Co Cork and plans for a super prison at Thornton Hall in north Dublin were both put on hold last year after Government cuts in capital spending.

While the estimated cost of a new prison is unknown until it goes to tender, Mr Shatter said it was better value than preparing Kilworth with an access road, perimeter wall and services such as water.

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