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Mobile phone seizures in St Patrick's Institution double in 3 years

The juvenile detention centre has had more illegal mobile phones seized so far this year than any other prison.

File photo
File photo
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

MORE ILLEGAL MOBILE phones have been seized in St Patrick’s Institution this year than in any other prison in the country.

The latest figures were released by the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in a response to a parliamentary question by Labour Deputy Tommy Broughan.

From 2009 to 23 September of this year, the number of seizures in the juvenile detention centre have more than doubled – from 121 to 252 – while numbers have dropped in every other prison.

The increase at St Patrick’s continues to buck the overall trend, which has seen the total number of phones seized over the three year period drop by nearly 60 per cent, from 2174 to 885.

Seizures at St Patrick’s, however, have increased each year since 2009.

Other prisons where the number of seizures increased in 2012 were Cloverhill (from 20 in 2011 to 27 in 2012) and Limerick, where 108 phones were seized compared to 100 last year.

Every other prison has seen a drop of at least one-third in the numbers of seizures this year compared to last, the biggest being in Mountjoy’s male prison, where 226 phones were seized compared to 420 in 2011.

Mountjoy had recorded the largest number of seizures out of all prisons in 2009 (904), 2010 (742) and 2011 (420).

At 226 in 2012, however, it has now been overtaken by St Patrick’s Institution.

(Total number of seizures in 2012 up until 23 September)

The biggest decrease, as a percentage of last year, was in Portlaoise prison. While 27 phones were seized last year, only two have so far been seized in 2012.

Minister Shatter attributed the overall year-on-year decrease “as a direct consequence of the security measures introduced, including a airport style scanners and x-ray machines, which are in operation at the entrances of all the relevant closed prisons.”

Read: Damning report into St Patrick’s finds forced stripping, excessive force and intimidation >

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Paul Hyland

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