IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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How and why temporary release is currently being used

16th August 2010

The use of temporary release has been a top story across media outlets over the last week. The automatic 25% remission rate has shocked the public, and in today's Irish Examiner Caroline O'Doherty reports on the current early release rates. 

In the article, the Irish Prison Service admit that they "use temporary release as a mechanism to relieve pressure and there is no doubt there is pressure on the numbers at the moment". 

Certainly something needs to be done to tackle the overcrowding crisis, given that it creates a very unsafe working environment for prison officers as well as reducing the chances for successful prisoner rehabilitation.

However, IPRT's Liam Herrick identifies certain groups who should not have been put in prison in the first place, such as those who did not pay court ordered fines along with people convicted of less serious traffic offences. For these people prison is simply not the most appropriate sanction.

Perhaps if we used prison as a measure of last resort, temporary release could be employed as an effective tool in reintegration as it is intended.

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