LIMERICK Prison is top of the list when it comes to paying transport bills for inmates upon their release.
According to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, over €106,000 was spent on getting prisoners released from Mulgrave Street home between 2009 and 2013.
Known by the prison population as “bus money”, the amount paid out in Limerick comes to almost one fifth of the total €750,000 shelled out by the Irish Prison Service in the five years to 2013.
The payments are discretionary and can be sanctioned by governors at the individual prison sites once an inmate has served their sentence.
Limerick Prison was closely followed by Cork Prison, where almost €105,000 in “bus money” was paid out between 2009 and 2013, while close to €96,000 was paid out to prisoners released from the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise. Lower amounts were paid out in respect of Dublin prisons, including Wheatfield (€38,000) and St Patrick’s Institution (€56,000), while the €111,000 cost at Mountjoy relates to both the men’s and the women’s prisons.
A spokesperson for the prison service said the sums were paid out only following an assessment of needs and stressed that transport providers were ordinarily paid the money directly rather than cash being handed directly to released inmates.