Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Questions (266)

Seán Crowe


266. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the community return programme is open to prisoners serving a five-year sentence but statutorily barred; the process for making such an application; and the criteria needed to get access to and be a successful applicant for the scheme. [17467/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that mandatory sentenced prisoners are not considered for the Community Return Scheme due to restrictions on the granting of temporary release to such prisoners.

The Community Return Scheme is a temporary release scheme and as such any decision regarding it, is based on the criteria outlined in the Criminal Justice Act 1960 and the Criminal Justice (Temporary Release of Prisoners) Act 2003.

The eligibility to be considered for the Community Return Scheme include: those serving a sentence of between 1 and 8 years imprisonment; those who have 50% of entire sentence served; and the prisoner’s behaviour in custody and whether they have used their time in prison productively.

Before a final determination is made a number additional factors are taken into account including: the nature and gravity of the offence to which the sentence being served by the person relates; the sentence concerned and any recommendation made by the Court in relation to the sentence imposed; the potential threat to the safety and security of the public should the person be released; the person's previous criminal record; any report or recommendation made by the Governor, the Garda Síochána, a Probation & Welfare Officer, or any other person whom the Minister considers may be of assistance in coming to a decision as to whether to grant temporary release; the risk that the person might commit an offence during any period of temporary release; the risk of the person failing to comply with any of the conditions of temporary release; and the likelihood that a period of temporary release might accelerate the person's reintegration into society or improve his prospects of obtaining employment.