New Limerick women’s prison opened

New Limerick women's prison opened

Helen McEntee

Limerick’s new women’s prison with capacity for at least 50 prisoners has been officially opened.

The new Limerick Female Prison will increase capacity across the prison estate and has been designed with a focus on rehabilitation, the Department of Justice said, offering a range of educational, vocational and therapeutic programmes for inmates.

These initiatives include educational courses, vocational training, mental health support, addiction counselling, and access to healthcare services.

The accommodation comprises of a mixture bedroom units, some apartment style units and a mother and baby unit, all with individual en-suites.

Opening the prison today, justice minister Helen McEntee said: “The opening of Limerick Female Prison marks an important step forward in increasing capacity across the prison estate and helping us build stronger, safer communities.

“These additional spaces are necessary to ensure that we have the sufficient space and facilities to support those committed to serve a custodial sentence in an environment that is safe and has the space and capacity to focus on rehabilitation.

““They also reflect our commitment to rehabilitating prisoners, reduce re-offending and put them on a path to leading law abiding lives.

“This modern facility reflects our determination to provide an environment that enables prisoners to address the underlying causes of their offending behaviours and helps them reintegrate successfully into society.”

The opening of the new prison follows the addition of 200 spaces across the prison estate last year, as well as the addition of 96 spaces with the reopening of the training unit in Mountjoy and an additional 90 spaces with the opening of new male accommodation in Limerick.

The government also intends to prioritise four additional short-term capital projects at Castlerea, Cloverhill, the Midlands and Mountjoy that could provide accommodation for a minimum of 620 additional people over the next five years.

The Department of Justice said Mrs McEntee “is engaging with the minister for public expenditure with a view to progressing an agreed schedule of capital builds”.

Caron McCaffrey, director-general of the Irish Prison Service, said: “I am delighted to announce the official opening of the new Limerick Female Prison.

“I want to take this opportunity to commend all the staff who worked on this development but also ongoing the modernisation of the Irish Prison Service estate. I feel a huge sense of pride and this new prison will equip women who come into custody with the necessary tools to lead law-abiding lives after their release.”

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