Over 200 prisoners taking State exams


OVER 200 prisoners begin their State exams tomorrow, figures from the Irish Prison Service indicate. Some 85 people – 80 men and five women – will sit the Leaving Cert, while 127 – 123 men and four women – will start their Junior Cert tomorrow morning.

Candidates will be sitting the exams in all the prisons except Loughan House and Castlerea prisons. The highest number of candidates, 27, will be in the Midlands prison, where 20 will sit the Leaving and seven the Junior Cert.

Mountjoy prison in Dublin will have 26 exam candidates this year, 11 for the Leaving Cert and 15 for the Junior Cert. Limerick prison has 23 candidates, 10 for Leaving Cert and 13 for the Junior Cert.

There are 19 in Arbour Hill – eight for Leaving and 11 for Junior Cert; 15 in Portlaoise – 10 Leaving and five Junior Cert; 10 in Cloverhill – six Leaving and four Junior Cert; nine in Dóchas women’s prison – five Leaving and four Junior Cert; in Cork – one Leaving and seven Junior Cert; two in Shelton Abbey, both sitting the Leaving Cert, and, one each in St Patrick’s institution and the training unit, each sitting their Leaving Cert.

Although the figures appear low in an overall prison population of about 4,500, a spokesman said most prisoners engaged in educational courses were taking more focused courses, such as those for Fetac (Further Education and Training Awards Council) qualifications.

English and maths are the most popular subjects and are being taken in all the prison exam centres, with other subjects including geography, history, business, accounting and art. The Department of Education provided 220 teachers for the prison service, all of whom are employees of each prison’s vocational education committees.