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64: The number of prisoners escaped since 1996 still at large

The Irish Prison Service is in charge of prisoners, but if they abscond gardaí are informed.

Staff working inside Mountjoy Priso. (File photo)
Staff working inside Mountjoy Priso. (File photo)
Image: Eamon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

SINCE 1996, 64 prisoners have escaped from custody and have not been recaptured according to the Department of Justice.

Minister Alan Shatter made the admission to the Dáil last week after a question from Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan.

The minister said that of the 64 prisoners at large, 60 of those had escaped from low security open centres, two escaped from closed prisons and another two escaped from the custody of prison officers outside the confines of a prison.

Prisoners in Ireland are the responsibility of the Irish Prison Service but, when they abscond, the Garda Síochána are informed and they then have the power to detain, arrest, and return such persons to prison.

The minister told deputies last week that the “vast majority of offenders who abscond return voluntarily or are returned to custody”. This usually occurs within a short time frame, he added.

Shatter also said that the Irish Prison Service set up a project team in 2012 to look at ways of reducing the number of prisoners at large:

The project team has worked closely with An Garda Síochána and the Department of Social Protection and its work has led to the re-committal of a number of prisoners who had absconded from custody. This project is ongoing.

Read: There are 62 republican prisoners being held at present in Irish prisons >

Read: Concerned Cork residents say new prison will overshadow their homes >

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Rónán Duffy

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