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Question

100. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice the number of prisoners that have been granted a third remission on their sentences in the past year; the criteria for deciding same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50869/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy will be aware, all prisoners with a sentence to which remission applies qualify for one quarter remission on their sentence on the basis of good behaviour. 
In addition, prisoners who have engaged in authorised structured activity may apply to receive enhanced remission of greater than one quarter, but not more than one third, of their sentence.
There is no automatic entitlement to enhanced remission and the principles governing the awarding of it are contained in the Prison Rules, as set out in the relevant Statutory Instruments.
In order for a prisoner to be granted enhanced remission, the Minister for Justice must be satisfied that the prisoner is less likely to re-offend and is better able to re­integrate into the community.  All applications are assessed having regard to a range of criteria set out in the legislation.
Other factors taken into consideration include the manner and extent to which the prisoner has engaged constructively in authorised structured activities and the extent to which the prisoner has taken steps to address his or her offending behaviour.
The nature and gravity of the offence, the sentence of imprisonment concerned and any recommendations of the Court that imposed the sentence are also taken into account. 
Other criteria include the period of the sentence already served by the prisoner and the potential threat to the safety and security of members of the public, including to the victim of the offence.
Finally, applications are also assessed having regard to any previous convictions; the conduct of the prisoner while in custody or during a period of temporary release; as well as any report or recommendation made by the Governor, the Garda Síochána, Probation Officer or any other person who may be of assistance in making a decision on the application.
I am informed by the Irish Prison Service that a total of 65 prisoners were granted enhanced remission between 1 October 2020 and 30 September of this year.