Portlaoise prison crime 'lumped in' with Laois stats could damage jobs investment

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Midlands Prison Portlaoise

Midlands Prison Portlaoise, the largest in Ireland

Assaults and drug finds in the two prisons in Portlaoise are included in Laois crime figures, and a local councillor says this is unfair to Laois.

A repeated request has been made to the Department of Justice to stop including crime in Portlaoise prison campus with county crime figures in Laois, by Portlaoise Cllr Willie Aird.

With his motion heard at the December 2017 meeting of Laois County Council, Cllr Aird complained that it is “unfair” that the figures for crime and drugs finds in the prison are still “lumped in” with Laois crime statistics.

“There would be a lot of incidents in the prison.  It is the biggest in the country by a mile. It is unfair that they are all lumped in. It shows false figures for Portlaoise and Laois. They are listed as if they are happening in Laois, put on our record.

He believes that the figures could put off potential businesses from setting up in Laois.

“The IDA and companies looking at Laois would check these, and we are shown to have the second highest rates for assault. I ask that because of the size of the prison, do publicise these figures but please do not include them in Laois,” Cllr Aird said.

His motion asked Laois County Council to request that Minister for Justice & Equality Charlie Flanagan, to write to the Laois Offaly Chief Superintendent John Scanlon, “to ensure that crimes that are associated with the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise are not reported as part of the crime list for Laois”.

“I have asked the council to write to the previous Minister for Justice but nothing has been done,” he said.

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There are two prisons in the Portlaoise campus, the medium security Midlands Prison with 833 prisoners currently detained, and the high security Portlaoise prison with 231 men.

Bitterly cold weather on the way this weekend...