THERE were 31 assaults by prisoners on fellow inmates at Limerick Prison last year, according to figures released by the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.
And there were five assaults on prison staff on Mulgrave Street over the same 12 months.
Minister Fitzgerald was responding to a number of parliamentary questions on prison violence submitted by Deputy Clare Daly.
The number of assaults in Limerick is on a downward curve, with 45 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and 10 attacks on staff having been recorded in 2012.
One of the five assaults on prison staff in Limerick last year concerned a spitting incident for which the 25-year-old inmate was sentenced to a further two months.
“No level of inter-prisoner violence or assaults on staff is acceptable,” Minister Fitzgerald stated.
“Every effort is made by prison staff and management to limit the scope of acts of violence. However, no regime can completely eliminate the possibility of violent incidents happening in a prison setting where a large number of dangerous and violent offenders are being held.”
She outlined a number of measures, including metal detectors and netting, used to prevent weapons entering the system and the use of incentivised regimes - which provide for better privileges depending on behaviour - as ways of reducing assaults, which across the system decreased by 8% last year.