SEVERAL workshops have been affected by a shortage of staff at Cork prison, according to The Cork Prison Visiting Committee’s 2017 report published by the Department of Justice.
The report said: “Staff have to be re-deployed from various workshops to cover escorts to courts, hospitals etc which means no work or training on these occasions. It is hoped that staff shortages can be resolved in the not too distant future with the number of staff recently recruited and in training.”
However, sources say that training workshops in the prison continue to be affected by staff shortages. This was also acknowledged in recent weeks by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service, Caron McCaffrey.
Under the Irish Statute Book’s Prison Rules 2007, vocational training in areas such as woodwork is part of the ethos within the Irish prison system.
The rules say such activities should be provided to help prisoners develop their vocational skills, occupy their time and prepare for reintegration back into life on the outside of prison walls.
In its report, the prison visiting committee also highlighted issues among inmates including drug and alcohol addiction, psychiatric and psychological issues and intellectual disabilities.
The report outlined that many of the inmates have “a combination of all or some of the above”.
It added: “Organised crime is more prevalent which makes the rehabilitation of offenders more difficult. Prison is a catch-all situation.”
The report said however that the committee “are satisfied that Cork prison is exceptionally managed in the interest of prisoners.”