103. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the steps that can be taken to ensure first-time offenders in prison are segregated during recreation or rehabilitative training from members of criminal gangs seeking to recruit new membership; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40781/16]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that there is a standard operational procedure in place to ensure that upon committal, all offenders are assessed and accommodated appropriately according to their needs and specific security status. Dedicated committal units have been established in all committal prisons for this purpose.
The Irish Prison Service provides a wide range of rehabilitative programmes that include education, vocational training, healthcare, psychiatric, psychological, counselling, welfare and spiritual services. To segregate first time committals from the general prisoner population would greatly reduce their access to rehabilitative programmes and services.