‘Slopping out’ to end in Cork prison

Victorian practice o to end with the development of a new jail with in-cell sanitation


The Victorian practice of “slopping out” will end in Cork prison with the development of a new jail with in-cell sanitation, the Dáil has heard.

The new prison will accommodate 275 prisoners but will have only 30 designated single cells. Introducing the Prison Development (Confirmation of Resolutions) Bill, which effectively gives planning permission for the building, Minister of State Kathleen Lynch said the prison in Cork “will have 170 cells which will house 275 prisoners and have a maximum capacity of 310 prisoners”.

The Minister said she was aware of the concerns of the Irish Penal Reform Trust and the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice about the plan for double occupancy in cells. “Given the current number of prisoners in custody - 4,250 on any given day - the Irish Prison Service is not in a position to provide single cell accommodation to all prisoners.”

And she said in some cases prisoners were housed together other than for lack of capacity. “Family members, friends and co-accused often request a shared cell,” and it could be very beneficial, particularly for those who were vulnerable and at risk of self-harm.

But Sinn Féin justice spokesman Pádraig Mac Lochlainn described it as a “missed opportunity” that only 10 per cent of the accommodation “in a brand new prison” would be single cell occupancy.

If prisoners were sharing a cell overnight, “the practical reality is that they will have to use the toilet in front of each other. That is not what we should want for our prison system because it undermines the dignity of those affected.”

The Donegal North-East TD said he appreciated single occupancy could not be provided in every cell but when “59 prisoners are currently under protection in Cork prison, 30 single occupancy cells appear to be inadequate”.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.