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Question

96. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners granted one third remission, by prison, in each of the years 2012 to 2016 and to date in 2017; the process of decision making on such applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15857/17]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that all prisoners who are sentenced to a term of imprisonment, with the exception of prisoners without a determined sentence eg. life sentence prisoners, qualify for one quarter remission 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 exceeding one third of their sentence. In order for a prisoner to be granted enhanced remission, I must be satisfied that the prisoner is less likely to re-offend and is better able to re-integrate into the community .
The principles governing the awarding of enhanced remission are contained under Rule 59 of the Prison Rules 2007 to 2014 (S.I. No. 252 of 2007 and S.I. No. 385 of 2014). For all applications, the following factors are considered -
- the manner and extent to which the prisoner has engaged constructively in authorised structured activity
- the manner and extent to which the prisoner has taken steps to address his or offending behaviour
- the nature and gravity of the offence to which the sentence of imprisonment being served by the prisoner relates
- the sentence of imprisonment concerned and any recommendations of the court that imposed that sentence in relation thereto
- the period of the sentence served by the prisoner
- the potential threat to the safety and security of members of the public (including the victim of the offence to which the sentence of imprisonment being served by the prisoner relates) should the prisoner be released from prison
- any offence of which the prisoner was convicted before being convicted of the offence to which the sentence of imprisonment being served by him or relates
- the conduct of the prisoner while in custody or during a period of temporary release
- any report of, or recommendation made by the Governor of the prison, an Garda Síochána, any probation officer or any other person whom I consider would be of assistance in enabling me to make a decision on an application.
Information prior to 2014 regarding enhanced remission application is not available. I am advised that the Irish Prison Service introduced a database in 2014 to track the number of applications and decisions for enhanced remission up to one third remission. The current number of granted enhanced remission by year and by prison is set out in the following table. Decisions regarding applications for enhanced remission under the Prison Rules are generally made by Irish Prison Service officials on my behalf.

Prison 2014 2015 2016 2017
Arbour Hill 0 0 1 0
Castlerea 1 4 4 0
Cloverhill 0 0 0 1
Cork 1 12 9 0
Dochas 1 5 10 0
Limerick 0 2 1 1
Loughan House 2 8 22 8
Midlands 3 14 12 1
Mountjoy 3 55 12 2
Portlaoise 0 1 1 0
Shelton Abbey 4 16 30 5
Training Unit 9 24 23 7
Wheatfield 1 40 13 0
Total 25 181 138 25
(Figures as of 27 March 2017)
Note previous PQ answer 29835/15 indicated a figure of 180 for Year 2015 which has now been amended to 181 upon further examination of cases.