Every closed prison is operating at least 10% below its recommended maximum capacity.
All prisons should operate below the Inspector of Prisons’  recommended maximum capacity in order to protect the safety of everyone in the prison system. It is important that published capacity figures reflect the lived reality in Irish prisons, and that figures do not distort that reality –for example, the impact on capacity as result of closures for refurbishments of prison wings. The impact of overcrowding is reduced quality of living conditions, as well as adverse effects on prisoners’ privacy. 
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality (2018) recommended the capping of prisoner numbers in each institution, along with the adoption of a clear strategy by the Government to reduce the prison population by half over a fixed time scale.  Outlined below are prison capacity figures for April 2018 and how they compare to figures for 2017.
Indicator S3.1: Each closed prison operating at least 10% below capacity:
|Prison||Numbers in Custody 10th of April 2018 ||Prison Capacity||% Bed Capacity|
Only three closed prisons were operating at least 10% below capacity in April 2018.
|Prison||Usable Cells  2018||Usable Cells 2017 ||Difference|
A stark difference this year is the reduction in the number of usable cells in Wheatfield Prison and the Dóchas Centre women’s prison on the snapshot date. (This may be attributed to the closure of a wing/houses.)
|Action 3.1||All stakeholders in the criminal justice field must work to reduce the prison population by 1000. Legislators should consider whether governors should be given the power to refuse new prisoner committals when capacity levels exceed safe levels.|
|Action 3.2||The Inspector of Prisons must review and publish operational capacity levels for each prison in 2018.|
The Inspector of Prisons’ recommended capacity is outlined in the Irish Prison Service, Daily Prisoner Population https://www.irishprisons.ie/information-centre/statistics-information/2015-daily-prisoner-population/
European Parliament (2017) Prison Conditions in the Member States: Selected European Standards and Best Practices, pp. 4–5 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2017/583113/IPOL_BRI(2017)583113_EN.pdf
Houses of the Oireachtas (2018) Joint Committee on Justice and Equality: Report on Penal Reform and Sentencing, p. 53 https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/32/joint_committee_on_justice_and_equality/reports/2018/2018-05-10_report-on-penal-reform-and-sentencing_en.pdf
Irish Prison Service(2018) Prison Populations as of 10th of April 2018 https://www.irishprisons.ie/information-centre/statistics-information/2015-daily-prisoner-population/2018-prison-populations/
Information provided by the Irish Prison Service on the 1 st June 2018
IPRT (2017) Progress in the Penal System: A framework for penal reform (2017),p. 33 http://www.iprt.ie/files/Progress_in_the_Penal_System.compressed_.pdf