More prisoners may be out early to free-up space in jails
JUSTICE minister Alan Shatter is considering the early release of long-term prisoners, in a bid to ease the chronic overcrowding in Irish prisons.
According to a report in today's Irish Times, the radical move is being considered at a time when almost 750 inmates, mostly serving short sentences, have already been given early release because there is no room for them in overcrowded jails.
Last month, a government-appointed expert group warned that 30% of the 4,500 prison population will be on early release, also known as temporary release, by 2016 if nothing is done to solve overcrowding.
According to the report, Mr Shatter has asked senior officials to review a proposal that would mean inmates who are serving long sentences would be released early to free-up space.
“I have asked my officials to look at a scheme where suitable long-term prisoners might have the last period of their custodial sentence replaced by a form of community service,” he said.