Tuesday 17 July 2018

Dangerous criminals cost €100k a year to jail

Brian Rattgan
Brian Rattgan

Gordon Deegan

The cost of jailing our most dangerous prisoners is heading towards €100,000 a year.

The State forked out an average of €95,818 per inmate in Portlaoise Prison last year, almost €27,000 more than the overall average cost per prisoner in other facilities around the country.

Portlaoise is the country's only maximum security jail and the army maintains a presence on site.

The cost of jailing some of the country's most serious criminals there - including Republican prisoners - is far in excess of the average annual cost of funding the State's 4,126 prison spaces.

The average spend in jails nationwide stood at €68,959 per inmate in 2014, €26,859 less than in the maximum security facility in the midlands town.

The costs released by the Irish Prison Service for Portlaoise includes pay for prison officers, energy costs, cleaning and waste disposal, and health and safety costs, among other items of expenditure.

The €95,818 figure is an increase of about €1,200 per inmate over the costs in 2013.

Brian Rattigan is among the most notorious of the 218 inmates in Portlaoise. The Drimnagh man is serving a life sentence for stabbing 21-year-old Declan Gavin to death at Crumlin Shopping Centre on August 25, 2001. He is also serving a separate 17-year jail term for heroin dealing from prison.

Three of the Dundon brothers - Wayne, John and Dessie - are also housed in Portlaoise serving life sentences for murder.

Meanwhile, Republican prisoners housed in Portlaoise are said to enjoy a somewhat relaxed regime. A source said they can order in frozen pizzas and steak dinners from the town through the jail tuck shop - to be cooked inside the prison - as well as Black Forest Gateaux cakes.

The spend on such meals doesn't place any additional cost on the Prison Service as the prisoners pay for meals ordered in this manner.

The Irish Prison Service did not comment on the issue.

Irish Independent

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