The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., announced today that 107 prisoners will be granted varying periods of temporary release at Christmas under the Criminal Justice Act 1960. This figure represents approximately 2.5% of the prisoner population and is a further reduction on the 138 prisoners released last year.

The prisoners being released are nearing the end of their sentences and the overriding concern when considering the applications was 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 sentence served to date, prior record on temporary release, behaviour while in custody and previous criminal history.

The periods of release vary from a few hours (in some cases accompanied by another responsible person) up to 7 nights. All releases are subject to stringent conditions which in the vast majority of cases includes a requirement to report to his/her local Garda station. Any offender who breaks these conditions may be arrested and returned immediately to prison by the Gardaí.   

23 December 2008