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Written Answers - Prisoner Releases

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 377.  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  the number of applications for special family-event day compassionate release currently on hand; the number of such applications likely to be approved; if such release is restricted to a particular category of prisoner; if any particular category of prisoner is excluded from such consideration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23908/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter My replies to previous Parliamentary Questions explained the criteria which applies including the circumstances when temporary release may be provided and what matters must be taken into account. Candidates for temporary release are identified by a number of different means but primarily on the recommendation of the Prison Governor or the therapeutic services in the prisons. The prisoner, their family, or their legal representative can also apply for consideration of such a concession. Recommendations are also made to me in relation to long term sentence prisoners by the Parole Board though it does not necessarily follow that a prisoner will receive temporary release even if the recommendation is to that effect.

I have been informed by the Irish Prison Service that the reason given for seeking a period of temporary release is recorded with supporting documentation on the individual prisoner file. However, it is not possible to provide the Deputy with the breakdown of information requested as this would require the manual examination of records. Such an examination would require a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time and effort and can not be justified in current circumstances where there are other significant demands on resources.

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