Sentence begins: Prison processes


SEÁN QUINN snr spent last night in the committal unit of Mountjoy Prison where new prisoners are processed on arrival.

An average of between 20 and 30 new prisoners are committed to Mountjoy every Friday afternoon, according to the Irish Prison Service.

On his arrival, Mr Quinn’s court warrant was checked, his name was added to the prison register and he was shown to a cell. The prison services try, where possible, to put prisoners in single cells but this is not necessarily guaranteed.

Mr Quinn is expected to be transferred to the semi-open training unit of the prison today where his son Seán jnr served his three-month sentence for contempt from July until last month.

There were 117 prisoners in the training unit yesterday, which is about 10 short of full capacity, and a further 620 in the main prison.

Low-risk prisoners and prisoners moving towards the end of life or longer sentences for serious crimes are moved before release.

Prisoners are “locked down” for 12 hours at night in the training unit but can move about more freely than their counterparts in the main prison, although they are monitored constantly.

Mr Quinn will be entitled to a short telephone call every day and a weekly visit, although the prison shows flexibility to allow him to meet legal or professional people.

His barrister asked yesterday whether he could attend a grandchild’s christening on December 22nd, but the court said this was a matter for the prison services.

He must make a written or verbal application for leave to the prison services but as a low- risk prisoner, such an application would be favourably looked on.

Mr Quinn is due for release in early January, but if the Supreme Court hears his appeal quickly and he wins, he could be released earlier.

Asked how he felt about spending Christmas in prison, he said than anyone with a wife, five children and grandchildren did not need to be asked that question.