HC Deb 05 April 1892 vol 3 cc682-3
MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether Thomas O'Leary, now incarcerated in Mountjoy Prison, was, after his probationary term of nine months, placed to work in the shoemakers' shop; whether it is the usual practice to give prisoners, after probation, employment in the open air; and, if so, why was the custom departed from in the case of O'Leary; whether the shoemakers' shop in Mountjoy Prison is in an unhealthy situation in the basement, badly ventilated, with water-closets inside; whether O'Leary's health has suffered in consequence of being compelled to work in this shop for years without change; whether it is usual for prisoners to be changed from one class of work to another on their own application; has O'Leary made application to the Prison Authorities for a change of employment in the open air; and has his request been refused; and, if so, why?


The General Prisons Board report that the facts are as stated in the first paragraph. The practice is not as stated in the second paragraph, inasmuch as prisoners who have a taste for trades are in their own interest taught such trades during and after probation. Prisoners acting as shoemakers and tailors receive one hour's exercise in the open air daily and a longer period on Sundays. This custom has been followed in O'Leary's case. The shoemakers' shop at Mountjoy is not unhealthily situated. The medical officer reports that it is well ventilated, well lighted, well heated, and that sanitary matters connected with it are carefully attended to. The prisoner has in no way suffered as alleged. On the contrary, the medical officer reports that he is in robust health. The reply to the fifth paragraph is in the affirmative. As regards Paragraphs 6 and 7, the Prisons Board report that this convict's applications for employment at outdoor labour have been several times granted.