Prisoner numbers rising in Cork prison 

Prisoner numbers rising in Cork prison 
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE number of prisoners in Cork prison has been rising in the past week, while the numbers on temporary release have dropped.

On Wednesday, there were 270 in custody in the 296-bed facility, while 96 were on temporary release.

The Irish Prison Service has used temporary release as a tool to free up isolation space in the prison system which would be available if an inmate either shows symptoms or is diagnosed with Covid-19.

On April 3, there were 265 inmates in the prison and 114 on temporary release.

Since that date, the numbers in the prison have slowly increased while the number on temporary release has fallen.

However, a spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said the lower numbers currently on temporary release is because the sentences of some prisoners granted temporary release have expired. He said it is not connected to why the numbers in the prison have increased.

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, figures in the prison have spiked and the building is regularly at capacity, or overcrowded.

However, there are now vacancies in the prison.

The IPS has banned prison visits, to prevent the disease being brought into the prisons.

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