THREE PRISONERS SERVING sentences for homicide offences are currently unlawfully at large after absconding from open jails, the Minister for Justice has said.
One prisoner escaped on 24 November 2004 while another has been at large since 14 June 2010. Both were serving sentences for dangerous driving causing death.
The third prisoner, who was serving a sentence for the manslaughter of a Garda after crashing into a patrol car during a high-speed chase, absconded from a low security prison in Cavan last month. He was captured in Derry just over one week later and was jailed for assaulting police officers and resisting arrest. He is still classified as being unlawfully at large by the Department of Justice and will be subject to a European Arrest Warrant to return him to the Republic.
Responding to a question in the Dail, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the Irish Prison Service cannot provide information on the number of prisoners convicted of homicide offences who had absconded from open centres and had subsequently returned.
Around 6 per cent of the prison population of Ireland – around 220 inmates – are housed in open prisons.
Last month the Director General of the Irish Prison Service said there are currently 19 people on the run from open prisons. At least one prisoner has been unlawfully at large since 1995.