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What happens from the moment he is taken into custody ?

When he is taken into custody he will leave the courtroom and go to the holding cells downstairs. He will wait here while the paperwork is being dealt with. He may be in the holding cell for some hours before he is taken to the prison. Food will be given to him if he still there during meal times.

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What happens when he arrives in the prison ?

When he arrives in prison, he will be taken directly to the Reception area. His personal details will be taken and he will be photographed and fingerprinted. He will take a shower and be given prison clothes. He can wear his own clothes as soon as he gets the Governor’s permission and his Class Officer will explain the rules about the wearing of prisoner’s own clothes. (The Class Officer is the officer in charge of each prison landing.) His personal belongings are recorded and taken for safe keeping until his release.

His personal details are taken such as height, weight etc and details of his Next of Kin. He will be given a pillowcase, sheets and a duvet cover, toothpaste, soap, a comb, stockings and underwear and any other necessary items. He will also be given a copy of the Prison Rules Booklet. Then he will be taken to the Medical area, where a Nurse or Medical Orderly will see him.  Here he can be asked about any medical or psychological problems and if necessary, his own doctor can be contacted if there are any queries about prescribed medication. After this he will be taken to his cell.

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What happens on the first full day ?

In the morning, the prisoner will meet the Prison Governor or Deputy/Assistant Governor. The Governor will make sure he is aware of his entitlements, obligations and privileges under the Prison Rules. He can discuss any problems or concerns with the Governor, who will do his best to facilitate him. On the first day they will see the Prison Doctor if he/she is on duty.

On the first morning also, he will be seen by the Industrial Manager, and asked if he would like to work in any of the workshops, the kitchen, on the landings, or attend school. He will be informed of what support services are available – psychology service, counselling service, addiction and substance abuse treatment services etc. (The AA visits the prison for meetings twice weekly and the NA comes in regularly. These meetings are held in the Education Unit)

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What is the prison like ?

Cork prison is divided into different landings (or corridors).  There are nine landings in total. The number of cells may vary on each landing. Most prisoners will share a cell, though if they are serving long sentences every effort is made to give them a single cell. Each of these landings is under the supervision of a Class Officer.

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What does the Class Officer do ?

The Class Officer will make sure the prisoner is settled into the landing and inform him of the routine. If the prisoner has a question or problem he can approach his Class Officer. If he wishes to see the doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, probation services etc, he can do this through his Class Officer.

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What does the Chaplain do ?

There are two Chaplains currently in Cork Prison and if the prisoner feels the need to talk to them, he can tell his Class Officer or the Governor. The Chaplain is available if the prisoner wants to talk to somebody and they can offer spiritual guidance. But they can also offer practical hell and liaise with families.

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What is the prison routine ?

Prisoners are unlocked at 8.00 am , when they receive on a tray on the landing and bring back to their cells. All meals are eaten in the cells. After breakfast, they are unlocked again and can go to the exercise yard, attend to their work on the landings, go to school, the gymnasium or to workshops. Each morning the Governor is available during what is called the ‘Governor’s Parade’, where the Governor and the Chief Officer meet with the prisoners. If a prisoner wishes to speak with the Governor he can give his name to his Class Officer. Dinner is at 12.30. At 2.00p.m. they are unlocked again and can go to the exercise yard, school , work etc until 4.20 pm.  Tea is given out then. After tea prisoners are unlocked for evening recreation/exercise or night classes in the school. At 7. 20 pm they are locked up until the following morning. (Apart from the food provided at mealtimes by the Prison Kitchen,   prisoners can place weekly orders in the “Tuck Shop” for smaller food items, newspapers and toiletries)

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What services or activities are available in prison ?

Healthcare (Doctor, Dentist, Optician, Psychologist, Psychiatrist) Probation Service – Drug and Alcohol Counselling (including AA and NA meetings) Chaplain – Education Programme (5 days per week and 4 evenings) – Vocational Training – Samaritans –St Vincent de Paul visitation – Library – Recreation/Fitness

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How can phone calls be arranged ?

When a prisoner is first brought to the prison, he will be asked to nominate four telephone numbers that he may wish to call on a regular basis from prison. One of these numbers will be his Solicitor’s. He can have three personal numbers on his list. Once the paperwork is arranged for this, the prisoner will be issued with a special phone card, which can be used on prison phones. He is entitled to one phone call per day for six minutes per call. Prison phones are located in the main cell block, the workshops and the education area, so they are accessible at all times.

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What about letters ?

A prisoner can send out and receive several letters a week. Writing paper and envelopes can be got from the Class Officer. Each landing has a post box for letter collection. All letters, except legal ones, are censored before they are sent or received.

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What do I tell the children ?

If you have children, you will have to decide what you should tell your children. It is probably best to make this decision with your partner who is in prison. Some people decide to tell their children and some decide not to. It depends on many things, such as the age of the children, the length of the sentence the prisoner is serving, the particular personality of the children.. If you decide that you don’t want your children going to the prison, they can still speak with their father on the telephone. They can also keep in touch through letters. It is important for the child to keep in contact in some way, to avoid any feelings of abandonment or loss. If you feel confused about this, you should seek advice. A useful website where this issue is discussed is http://www.prisonersfamilieshelpline.org.ukThey have a leaflet called “My Mum’s in Prison/My Dad’s in Prison” which you can get at the above internet address. They also have other very useful publications.

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What about visits to prison ?

Each sentenced prisoner is entitled to one visit per week, for thirty minutes. The prisoner may request a second visit from the Governor. If he is on remand in the prison he can have three visits per week. Visits can take place between 10.00 am and 12 noon and  2.00 pm to 4.00 pm every day except Sundays and Christmas Day.

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How is a visit arranged ?

To arrange for visits with family and friends the prisoner must fill out a form listing the names of what visitors he wants. He is entitled to name six people on the form.  Usually a total of three adult visitors are allowed to come at the same time to visit the prisoner. You can phone the prison   Visiting Waiting Room (021 4518889)and request a visit. You will be given a date and time when the visit can take place.

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What can I bring to the prison ?

You can bring clothes or money for the prisoner.( Remember that any package you drop in will be searched and sniffed by the dog) If you want to drop items in for your relative, bring them with  you to the security area and hand them to the Prison Officer in the office there. You will be given a receipt for these. You cannot give them directly to the prisoner. You cannot bring cigarettes or food items for the prisoner. These can be bought by the prisoner in the tuck shop.

 

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What can I expect when visiting the prison ?

When you arrive at the prison you will see a single story building  (Visitors Waiting Room) by the front gate where you can tell the officer who you have come for a visit.  All visitors must bring a photographic ID to the prison to gain access. You will be given a locker to put your personal belongings and mobile phone in. You can keep the key to this locker until after your visit. You will wait here until you are called for the visit. You will cross the short distance to an electronic door, inside which there is a revolving door. Inside this area you will  have to pass through the Prison Security system. This is similar to an airport type security system, where belongings may be scanned. You will be required to remove your belt and any other objects such as loose change  or watches. These items can be put into a tray and put through the scanner. If the scanner beeps,  sometimes a hand scanner will be used. Many types of shoes set off the scanner as they contain metal in them. Once you are through the scanning device, you will be asked to stand in position while a dog handler with his dog will approach you. If the dog indicates that you have been in contact with or may be carrying any illegal substance, you will be asked to leave the prison without having your visit. If the dog indicates that you cannot be allowed in, this can be an upsetting experience, especially for people who are visiting prison for the first time, and particularly if you have children with you. Unfortunately, you will have to leave and come back another time. It might be a good idea to explain the search procedures to your children in advance and let them know that a dog will be in the security area.

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What happens during the visit ?

When you get through the security area you will go to the visiting room. This room consists of a long, high counter, with a Perspex divider approximately a foot high in the middle of the long table. In Cork Prison, during the visit you or your children are not allowed to touch the person you are visiting. And you are not allowed to give them anything during the visit. (Anything you wish to hand into the prisoner has to be given to the Officers in the Security Area). There will be a Prison Officer on duty in the visiting room and CCTV cameras will be in operation. You will be sharing the visiting room with other prisoners and their visitors and it can get quite busy and noisy there.

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Where is Cork Prison and How do I get there ?

Cork Prison is located on the North side of the City. The address is Rathmor Road. The prison is behind Collins Barracks, where the army are based. The phone number for Cork Prison is: 021 4518800. Taxi – Most taxi drivers know where the prison is so just ask for Cork Prison, Rathmore Road. Bus – The number 8 and number 7 bus from the city centre stop near the prison. Ask the driver to let you off near to Dillon’s Cross. Train – Trains arrive in Kent Station in Cork and it would be best to get a taxi from there. Car – If you are driving you can consult the map here. There is a visitors car park which is open during visiting hours and is free of charge.

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Cork Prison Visiting Centre

St Nicholas Trust offers a hospitality service to the visitors who come to the Waiting Room. Volunteers offer tea, coffee and a biscuit, a welcoming smile and a listening ear. They also hand out information to any newcomers on how the visiting system works. 

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