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Written Answers - Temporary Release of Prisoners

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 407.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  if he will indicate the number of prisoners that have absconded while on release or otherwise in each of the past four years to date in 2012; the number still at large if any; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6930/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can inform the Deputy that the information requested relating to the years 2008 to 2010 is outlined in the following table:

Year Number of Absconders
2008 109
2009 138
2010 109
Total 356

[506]As of 6 February 2012, forty out of the 356 prisoners referred to above remained unlawfully at large. Figures relating to the number of persons who absconded from custody in 2011 are currently being compiled for the Annual Report and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as they are available.

It should be noted that the vast majority of prisoners who abscond, do so from the two open centres, Shelton Abbey and Loughan House. The profile of open centres generally includes, either low risk offenders who are serving short sentences for minor offences or offenders nearing the end of longer sentences, whose transfers have been approved, as part of a sentence management programme. In most of these cases, the offender is very much at the lower end of the risk to the public spectrum. The Gardaí are informed when prisoners abscond and have the power to detain, arrest, and return such persons to prison.

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