Hundreds freed to work outside
'GARLIC Man' Paul Begley, pictured above, is one of almost 400 prisoners who have been granted early release, subject to strict conditions, under a pilot scheme by the Prison Service and the Probation Service.
Called 'community return', in order to distinguish it from community service, the scheme began in November 2011.
It roughly equates to a swap of prison time for time in the community through unpaid work supervised by the Probation Service. This includes painting community centres, removing graffiti and cleaning.
Prisoners are eligible if their sentence is between one and five years and can get out under the scheme as early as halfway through their sentence.
They must sign on every day at their local garda station and every week at the prison.
By the end of January, 375 prisoners participated in the scheme, which has recorded a 90pc compliance rate.