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70 prisoners granted temporary Christmas release

28 Dec 2021 / justice Print

70 prisoners are granted temporary release

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) has confirmed that 70 prisoners will be granted varying periods of temporary release this Christmas under the Criminal Justice Act 1960.

This figure represents less than 2% of the overall prisoner population. The corresponding numbers released for Christmas in 2018, 2019 and 2020 were 137, 113 and 37 respectively.

The overall figure remains low compared to previous years because ongoing COVID-19 restrictions have impacted on the overall number of prisoners applying for Christmas:

  • Reduced number in custody leading to a reduced pool of eligible prisoners,
  • Reduced numbers of applications as some prisoners not wishing to avail of Christmas temporary release due to the risk of contracting COVID-19.

The IPS has said that 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 and the concerns of victims.

Victim liaison

The sensitivities of victims has also been carefully taken into account and additional specific conditions will also apply in relation to registered victim liaison cases.

All registered victims with the IPS Victim Liaison Service will be informed in the cases where prisoners are receiving Christmas Temporary Release.

The periods of release vary from a few hours up to seven nights.

All releases are subject to stringent conditions and any offender who breaks these conditions may be arrested and returned immediately to prison by the gardaí.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland