The Irish Times today reports that the prison population has reached 5,212, with 4,274 in custody and a record 938 prisoners (or 17.9% of the total prison population) out on temporary release.
The system has an official capacity of 4,066; this figure is in fact even lower when one considers the design capacity of the prisons.
If prisoner numbers continue to increase at current rates, numbers will reach 5,733 in custody in the next year, and 6,300 the following year. The article states that under current plans, there will be 4,266 prison spaces in 2012, which means 2,000 prisoners out on temporary release due to lack of space.
"At that stage the prison population and early release of criminals will be at runaway levels unless long overdue alternatives to imprisonment are developed."
- IPRT Media Release on Exploding Prisoner Numbers
- Irish Times: 938 prisoners on release as jail population hits record level
- Irish Times - Analysis: Courts sentencing criminals at quicker rate than State can provide prison spaces
- Irish Times: Mountjoy Prison overcrowding criticised in report