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Dublin: 16°C Monday 15 August 2022

13 life sentence prisoners were recalled to prison between 2001-2012

The thirteen prisoners had been released from prison early.

A TOTAL OF 13 life sentence prisoners who were released early were recalled back to prison between 2001-2012.

All prisoners who are serving life imprisonment are eligible to have their cases reviewed by the Parole Board once they have served seven years in custody, however, they are still subject to stringent conditions.

Under the law, if the prisoner breaches their conditions they can be returned to prison.

In breach

The details of the condition the former prisoner breached is outlined below:

  • 2001: Other condition 2 cases
  • 2002 Charged with an additional offence (Theft)1 case
  • 2004 Failure to be of sober habits 1 case
  • 2005 Charged with an additional offence (drugs offence)1 case
  • 2006 Charged with an additional offence ( firearm offence ) 1 case
  • 2008 Other condition and failure to be of sober habits 3 cases
  • 2009 Charged with an additional offence (drugs offence)1 case
  • 2010 Charged with an additional offence (burglary)1 case

In a previous parliamentary question, Shatter stated that one life sentence prisoner was recalled in 2011 and another one in 2012.

Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to outline the figures in a parliamentary question last month. Shatter said that life sentence prisoners who are released into the community continue to serve their sentences but are on Reviewable Temporary Release under the supervision of the Probation Service.

Back into the community

He added:

Where it is reported to the Irish Prison Service that the prisoner in the community is failing to abide by the conditions of their release, that person may be refused a further period of temporary release and be taken back into custody.

The gardaí may return a prisoner to prison where they are of the view that the prisoner is in breach of their temporary release conditions, he said.

When this happens, the Governor will conduct an oral hearing into the allegation. If the Governor is satisfied, taking into account evidence presented and comments made, that a breach of temporary release conditions has occurred the prisoner should be notified accordingly. The Reviewable Temporary Release is then revoked and the prisoner is taken back into custody, Shatter said.

Answering a previous parliamentary question Shatter said that in the three years between 2010 to 2012, a total of 15 life sentence prisoners were released early.

Six prisoners were released in 2010, five in 2011, and four in 2012, while the average amount of time served in prison rose over this period, from 18 years 3 months to 22 years.

Shatter stated:

It is important to note that a life sentence is indeterminate and there is no guaranteed release date. However, it does not always mean life in prison.

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