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Ireland: life sentence prisoners served 22 years average in prison

Prisoners released in 2016 served on average four years more than those released in 2015.
Life sentence prisoners released in 2016 served an average 22 years in custody, an increase of four-and-a-half years on 2015. It is the second year in the history of the State that the average time served in prison by inmates sentenced to life has been 22 years, with the same average recorded in 2012.

The average time served in custody by lifers has increased significantly since the 1970s and 1980s when inmates could expect to spend about 7-and-a-half years in jail. Information from the Irish Prison Service shows that in 2016 seven life sentence prisoners were released into the community after an average length of 22 years. When life sentence prisoners are released they continue to serve their sentences in the community under strict conditions. While in the community, a life sentence prsoner will be on reviewable temporary release.

On December 31, 2016, there were 352 prisoners in custody serving life sentences with a further 83 prisoners serving life sentences in the community on reviewable release. Four life sentenced prisoners were recalled to prison during the year.

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