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Dublin: 1 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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Which Irish prisons confiscated the most weapons, drugs and mobiles last year?

Around 3,723 people are currently serving time.

Empty corridors of the Dochas Centre, Mountjoy Prison
Empty corridors of the Dochas Centre, Mountjoy Prison

PRISONERS ACROSS THE country continued to smuggle drugs, weapons and phones into Ireland’s 14 prisons last year – but which had the highest numbers of seizures?

Figures released to TheJournal.ie by the Department of Justice show that in 2014, Mountjoy had the highest number of mobile phones confiscated at 223.

However, Wheatfield has the most drugs confiscated with 179 seizures and the most weapons at 174.

Last year saw 986 drugs seizures in Irish prisons in total, 728 mobiles were confiscated and 648 weapons were found.

Here’s the breakdown of each:

Drugs

Arbour Hill – 0
Shelton – 0
Training Unit – 5
Dóchas – 13
Loughan House – 16
Portlaoise – 17
St Patrick’s – 60
Cork – 72
Limerick – 80
Castlerea – 98
Midlands – 136
Mountjoy – 143
Cloverhill – 167
Wheatfield – 179

Arbour Hill Prison was the only prison to have no records of any drugs, weapons or mobiles seized. It can hold around 140 prisoners.

Mountjoy is Ireland’s largest prison with a capacity of 554, Cloverhill can hold around 415 prisoners while Wheatfield has a capacity of 550.

00115098 Staff working inside Mountjoy Prison Source: Paul Sharpe via Mountjoy Prison

Mobile Phones

  • Arbour Hill- 0 
  • Cork – 3
  • Shelton – 5
  • Dóchas – 6
  • Limerick – 18 
  • Castlerea – 38 
  • Wheatfield – 44
  • Cloverhill – 50
  • Portlaoise – 52
  • Training Unit – 55 
  • Midlands – 59
  • Loughan House – 66
  • St Patrick’s – 109
  • Mountjoy – 223

Oberstown is the new child detention campus – it will accommodate teenage offenders who would have been placed in St Patrick’s Institution.

90256089 The exterior of Saint Patricks Institution in Dublin. Source: Mark Stedman via Photocall Ireland

Oberstown currently provides education and accommodation for about 36 young offenders aged 10 – 17.

A recent report found that a child was handcuffed while being restrained by 5-7 staff at the facility last autumn.

Weapons

  • Arbour Hill – 0
  • Dochas – 0
  • Shelton – 0
  • Loughan House – 1
  • Training Unit – 3
  • Portlaoise – 7
  • Cloverhill – 31
  • Mountjoy – 52
  • Cork – 59
  • Limerick – 64
  • St Patrick’s – 65
  • Midlands – 86
  • Castlerea – 106
  • Wheatfield – 174

Castlerea prison takes committals from Cavan, Donegal and Longford and has around 340 prisoners.

In an attempt to try and prevent the flow of all these items into Ireland’s prisons – nets have been installed over exercise areas, better CCTV systems are being used and there is now stricter control over visits.

According to the Irish Penal Reform Trust there are 3,723 people currently serving time in Ireland’s prisons.

Read: More than 15,000 contraband items seized in Irish prisons>

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