CORK Prison has been operating at nearly 100% capacity over the last month, and could exceed its capacity by next week, according to figures obtained by The Echo.
In one snapshot, there were 279 prisoners in custody in Cork Prison on Wednesday, February 1, with 34 out on release, and 80 on trial or on remand, according to figures supplied by the Irish Prison Service.
The total prisoners in the Cork Prison system that day was 326. Cork Prison has 296 beds.
Overall, the prison was operating at 94% capacity that day. All cells in Cork Prison have in-cell sanitation, said a spokesperson. On Thursday, February 2, it was operating at 97% capacity.
Throughout the month of January, Cork Prison operated at between 88% capacity and 95%, climbing throughout the month.
In total, there were 4,444 people incarcerated in prisons across the entire prison estate in Ireland on Wednesday, February 8, according to a spokesperson for the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT).
However, there were only 4,411 beds available.
“That’s 33 people more than there are beds,” said the IPRT spokesperson.
“Yesterday, figures show that Cork Prison is at 98% capacity — 289 people are in custody and there are only seven available beds left. This day last week it was at 95% capacity.
“It is worrying how quickly the number of people being imprisoned is increasing. Should this trend continue at this rate, Cork Prison could be over capacity by next week,” added the spokesperson.