Gardaí hit out at plan to release 400 inmates a year

The biggest Garda association has joined crime victims’ groups in criticising the Government’s plan to release an extra 400 prisoners every year.

And the union representing probation officers — who are charged with managing the released inmates — has told the Irish Examiner that the staff and resources are not in place to run the scheme.

Alan Shatter, the justice minister, and Prison Service boss Michael Donnellan published a three-year plan which includes the annual early release of 400 inmates under a community return programme.

PJ Stone, general secretary of the Garda Representative Association, said convicted killers and sex offenders could be included in the release scheme “simply to ease prison overcrowding”.

“Garda resources have been overstretched and the level of temporary releases is inappropriate when gardaí are already overburdened.”

Probation staff said the scheme comes after staff levels have been cut by 10%.

“While we welcome the scheme, there are insufficient resources... to complete this programme and support and manage offenders,” said David Williamson of Impact.


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