More than 100 prisoners being given temporary release over Christmas

Prison service says public safety paramount in deciding which inmates are released

The periods of release this Christmas ranged from just a few hours to seven nights

The periods of release this Christmas ranged from just a few hours to seven nights

 

A total of 113 prisoners are being given temporary release over Christmas, with some inmates being granted up to seven nights at home with their families.

The percentage of those in custody getting temporary release over the festive season represents about 3 per cent of the overall prisoner population, and marks a decrease on the previous three years.

The Irish Prison Service said both the “sensitivities of victims” and “safety of the public” had been paramount in deciding which inmates would be granted temporary release over the yuletide period.

It was also confirmed that the periods of release this Christmas ranged from just a few hours to seven nights.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said: “Many of the prisoners being released are nearing the end of their sentences and the overriding concern when considering the applications is the safety of the public.

“In addition to compassionate and humane considerations, other criteria taken into account include the nature and gravity of the offence, length of the sentence served to date, prior record on temporary release, behaviour while in custody and previous criminal history.”

The Irish Prison Service warned that all releases remained subject to strict conditions, adding that any offender who breaks these conditions would be re-arrested and immediately returned to prison.

The number of inmates out for Christmas has decreased over the past three years. The corresponding numbers for this period in 2016, 2017 and 2018 were 177, 142 and 137 respectively.