January 15, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the average length of sentence actually served in cases where convicted persons are sentenced to periods of imprisonment of 12 months, two years, three years, four years, five years, six years, seven years, eight years, nine years, 10 years.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: I wish to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide the statistical breakdown, as requested, as this would require the manual examination of thousands of individual prisoner records. This exercise would entail the diversion of a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time which could not be justified in current circumstances.
All sentenced prisoners serving a sentence in excess of 1 month, with the exception of Life sentenced prisoners, persons convicted of debtor offences and persons convicted of contempt of court, are entitled to remission on their sentence length of one quarter. The Prison Rules, 2007 allow for the discretionary granting of additional remission, up to one third as opposed to the standard rate of one quarter. That said, this additional concession will only be awarded in exceptional cases where I am satisfied beyond any doubt that the prisoner concerned has demonstrated that she/he meets the requirements as set out in Rule 59 of the Prison Rules.
Further, the Criminal Justice Act 1960, as amended by the Criminal Justice (Temporary Release of Prisoners) Act 2003 provides that sentenced prisoners may be approved temporary release whether it be for a few hours or a more extended period. Finally, prisoners sentenced to a period of 1 to 8 years, upon serving 50 per cent of their sentence, can be assessed for suitability for alternatives to imprisonment such as the Community Return Scheme.