Fifty five inmates granted temporary release from prisons since March 2nd by the Irish Prison Service (IPS) have been re-arrested since and returned to prison after breaching their temporary release conditions.
Thirty seven of the 55 were re-arrested for allegedly committing a range of criminal offences including burglary; theft; public order and other social code offences and damage to property.
That is according to new figures provided by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan TD.
In a series of written Dail replies to Thomas Pringle TD (Independent), Minister Flanagan stated that since March 2nd a total of 852 prisoners have been granted full or reviewable temporary release.
Minister Flanagan stated: “It is important to note that not all of these releases have related to the Covid-19 pandemic.” He stated that the initial process of identifying prisoners suitable for temporary release, for the purposes of reducing the prison population for effective infection control, resulted in around 500 prisoners being granted temporary release.
He added that since then, the number of prisoners on temporary release has reduced to pre-pandemic levels and now occur as part of the normal prison release planning.
Minister Flanagan stated that temporary related release of prisoners concerning focused on low-risk prisoners who were serving sentences of less than 12 months for non-violent offences.
He stated: “Subsequently, prisoners assessed as low risk who had less than 6 months to serve were also granted temporary release from some prisons.” Minister Flanagan stated that of the 55 prisoners returned to custody, 37 of those prisoners allegedly committed a criminal offence resulting in their arrest and return to custody.
He stated the remaining 18 prisoners were returned to custody as a result of other breaches of the conditions of their temporary release.
In a breakdown of the 55 prisoners where prisoners were returned, Cloverhill accounted for 11, Cork - 10, Wheatfield - 7, Midlands - 6, Castlerea - 4, Mountjoy (female) - 4, Mountjoy (male) - 4 Limerick (male) - 4, Limerick (female)- 3, Portlaoise - 2.
Minister Flanagan stated that since March 2, five prisoners serving life sentences have been granted temporary release but stressed that none of those released were Covid 19 related temporary releases Minister Flanagan stated that one prison serving more than ten years was granted temporary release; 45 serving between five and 10 years; 91 serving between three to five years; 68 between two to three years and 162 between one and two years.
A further 190 serving between six to 12 months were granted temporary release; 167 between serving three and six months and 123 under three months.