Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.26 23 Dec 2020


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Justice Minister Helen McEntee has announced that 36 prisoners will get temporary release this Christmas.

This figure represents approximately 1% of the overall prisoner population.

While the periods of release will vary from just a few hours to up to six nights.

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The numbers approved for 2020 are greatly reduced in comparison to previous years.

Back in 2017, 142 prisoners were granted temporary release, as against 137 in 2018 and and 113 last year.

The Department of Justice says the reason for reduced numbers is because of, among other things, a reduced number in custody leading to a reduced pool of eligible prisoners.

There has also been a reduced number of applications, as some prisoners do not want to take temporary release due to the risk of contracting COVID-19.

The department adds that many of the prisoners being released are nearing the end of their sentences.

All releases are subject to stringent conditions, while specific additional conditions have been added due to the coronavirus pandemic - including an obligation to abide by all public health guidelines.

And all prisoners availing of temporary release will be required to quarantine on return to prison for up to 14 days.

Main image: File photo of Mountjoy Prison in Dublin in 2014. Picture by: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

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