90 inmates on temporary release from Cork prison amid virus

90 inmates on temporary release from Cork prison amid virus
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

MORE than 90 inmates are on temporary release from Cork prison as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the facility.

In recent weeks, prisoner numbers at the Rathmore Rd facility have been high, with temporary release and prisoner transfers used to help free up spaces for new inmates committed to the prison.

On Monday, there were 79 inmates on temporary release, while there were 307 inmates in the prison itself.

Yesterday, there were 92 on temporary release, while there were 290 in the prison.

The building has a bed capacity for 296 men. There were 327 inmates in the prison on one day in early March.

In recent weeks, there have been incidents of prisoners sleeping on mattresses to help alleviate overcrowding.

Under legislation, temporary release can be for just a few hours or for a more extended period.

Concerns about overcrowding in Cork were heard at the Prison Officers Association conference in Sligo last May.

Throughout the past year, numbers in the prison have spiked and the building is regularly at capacity or overcrowded.

According to the Irish Prison Service, decisions on releasing inmates to free up overcrowding will take public safety into consideration, and anyone deemed a threat will not be released.

The criteria considered for granting temporary release include the safety of the public, the nature and gravity of the offence, the length of sentence already served, behaviour in prison, and previous criminal history.

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 can also apply for consideration of such a concession.

Recommendations are also made in relation to long term sentence prisoners by the Parole Board.

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