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Dublin: 5°C Friday 5 March 2021

Over 7,000 Irish prisoners got out on early release this year

Statistics contained in the CSO showed 45% of prisoners reoffended within three years.

Image: Shutterstock/txking

A TOTAL OF 7,171 prisoners were granted full or reviewable temporary release from January to November this year.

The majority of these (6,434) were imprisoned for very short periods for non-payment of fines, who were granted early release shortly thereafter.

The Irish Prison Service Recidivism study for 2010 showed that 45% of prisoners released from incarceration in that year reoffended within three years.

Some 27% of the prisoners reoffended within the first six months, that’s 2,561 prisoners out of a total of 9,339.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said each application for temporary release is considered on its individual merits and a number of factors are taken into account including the nature of the offence, whether or not the person is a first-time offender, and whether the person poses a threat to public safety.


All prisoners who come into the Education Centre of each prison have an individual interview to assess their educational attainments, needs and interests.

Those with literacy difficulties are identified and asked to undertake a test to assess their literacy levels.

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Minister Fitzgerald said the Irish Prison Service is currently exploring the possibility of surveying the prison population using the eight key competences for lifelong learning as defined by the European Commission.

These include literacy and language competence along with mathematical and digital competence. She added that expressions of interest have been sought from Irish universities to enter into a research partnership with the Irish Prison Service to undertake this survey.

The Irish Prison Service currently facilitates a peer led basic literacy service amongst persons in custody called “Toe by Toe” where those with poor literacy or learning difficulties are mentored by individual volunteers who are also in custody, but who receive specific training in this regard.

The Department of Education and Skills provides the Irish Prison Service with 220 whole time equivalent teaching posts on a partnership basis.

Read: 45% of Irish prisoners released have reoffended within three years>

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