THE Inspector of Prisons has published a report into the death of an inmate at Limerick Prison who died from a suspected drugs overdose while on temporary release.
The body of the 30-year-old was found in August last year - less than a fortnight after he was granted conditional temporary release.
In his report, which has just been published, Judge Michael Reilly states the man had been dead for up to four days before his body was found on the grounds of a church in his local town.
Judge Reilly said the prisoner, who had difficulties with drug abuse, had been returned to Limerick Prison a number of weeks earlier having been “unlawfully at large” for around four months.
When asked why the inmate was still on temporary release, the prison authorities informed Judge Reilly that one of the reasons for his release was overcrowding and a lack of alternative spaces in either Cork Prison or the Midlands Prison.
There were 242 male prisoners in custody in Limerick Prison on the day he was granted temporary release for second time – 22 more than the official capacity.
“I was informed that the deceased was one of a number of prisoners considered for release that day to reduce the overcrowding,” stated Judge Reilly, who added that another factor was that the deceased had less than a month remaining on the sentence he was serving.
During the judge’s investigation, relatives of the man expressed concerns regarding the circumstances of his release and death.
Judge Reilly found that the prisoner was not subjected to a comprehensive assessment prior to being released.
Following his release, the man complied with all conditions resulting in his temporary release being extended by a further seven days.
The man stayed with his mother for a number of days before disappearing from her home.
His family described the area where his body was found as “an old haunt for heroin addicts”.
While a coroner will determine the cause of death, it is suspected the inmate died from an overdose.
In his report, Judge Reilly recommends that “a comprehensive assessment of all prisoners being released on temporary release must be undertaken prior to their release”.