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Ireland: prison service insists it is effectively dealing with potential crowding issues

The number of prisoners has been rising as more remand court cases and more trials are taking place.

The Irish Prison Service has insisted that it is effectively dealing with potential crowding issues at jails across the country.

The number of prisoners has been rising as more remand court cases and more trials are taking place.

But with the COVID crisis looming over the prison system, bosses say they have successfully moved to prevent an overcrowding crisis in recent times.

In a statement to the Irish Daily Star, the Irish Prison Service said that it had in fact reduced the prisoner population by 10 per cent since March of last year when there was a record 4,235 people in custody. “As of this week, the number in custody is 3,784, this is a reduction of 451, 10 per cent. The total percentage of bed capacity is 86 per cent,” they said.

It comes after The Star revealed that several high-profile prisoners, including three notorious murderers, were moved to open prisons to help free up space in the country’s jails.

The IPS also insisted however that in any case where a prisoner is moved, a number of important factors relating to their behaviour, how long they have been in prison and more are put into consideration first.

“Prisoner transfers are carried out for a number of reasons including, sentence management purposes. Transfers to open centres are carried out in line with the parole board recommendations.

“When making decisions in relation to the transfer of prisoners for the two categories listed above, a range of factors are taken into consideration including the manner and extent to which the prisoner has engaged constructively in authorised structured activities and the manner and extent to which the prisoner has taken steps to address his or her offending behaviour,” they said.

They also said they consider “the nature and gravity of the of the offence to which the sentence of imprisonment being served by the prisoner relates as well as “the sentence of imprisonment concerned and any recommendations of the Court that imposed the sentence.

The period of the sentence served by the prisoner and the potential threat to the safety and security of members of the public are also considered, as well as their behaviour during any temporary release.

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