Limerick TD questions ‘disturbing’ temporary prison release

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Deputy Niall Collins: 'Why has there been a number of prisoners given temporary release?'
FIANNA Fail justice spokesperson, Niall Collins has questioned the number of inmates on temporary release from Limerick Prison.

FIANNA Fail justice spokesperson, Niall Collins has questioned the number of inmates on temporary release from Limerick Prison.

The TD put down a series of Dail questions to the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, which revealed that as of the beginning of November there were 85 prisoners on temporary release from Mulgrave Street.

Limerick prison has the capacity for 220 men and 28 women. Two hundred and sixteen males and 24 females were in the jail.

“I recently put down a series of Dail questions in relation to prisoner capacity in Limerick Prison. The results which came back from the Minister for Justice and Equality were disturbing.

“It appears that bed numbers in Limerick Prison for men and women is below capacity. This begs the question why has there been a number of prisoners given temporary release?” asks Deputy Collins.

In the whole country there were 608 prisoners or 13.3 per cent on temporary release across the system.

“This included 159 prisoners who were serving less than three months solely for the non-payment of a court ordered fine and 208 prisoners who were on structured temporary release programmes such as the community return programme or community support scheme,” said Minister Fitzgerald in her reply to the Dail question.

Others that received temporary release were convicted of a range of crimes including homicide, sexual offence, assault, burglary, drugs and theft.

Each application is considered on its individual merits and a number of factors are taken into account when making a decision on whether to grant temporary release, wrote Minister Fitzgerald.

These include the nature and gravity of the offence to which the sentence being served by the person relates; the potential threat to the safety and security of the public should the person be released and over 10 more.