Remission and temporary release from prison
If you have been imprisoned and part of your sentence is remitted, this means that you do not have to remain in prison for the full period of your sentence. For example, if you have been sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment, you may be released after 6 years. In other words, the remaining 2 years of your sentence are remitted.
Temporary release means that you are released from prison for a specified period of time for a specific purpose or reason.
Under Rule 59 of the Prison Rules 2007 as amended, the vast majority of prisoners serving sentences are entitled to remission at a rate of one quarter. In practice, this means that a person sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment will be expected to serve 3 years in custody. However, part of this remission may be cancelled as disciplinary punishment. Whether or not you get remission depends on your good behaviour while you are in prison.
On application by a prisoner, the Minister for Justice and Equality can grant enhanced remission of up to one third of the sentence. The prisoner must have shown further good conduct by engaging in authorised structured activities and the Minister must be satisfied that, as a result, the prisoner is less likely to re-offend and will be better able to reintegrate into the community.
Prisoners who cannot benefit from remission include those serving life sentences.
There are 3 kinds of temporary release:
- Temporary release on compassionate ground for a specified period. This is normally granted where urgent family or domestic circumstances arise.
- Day-to-day temporary release. This is normally to go to a job outside the prison during the day and return to the prison at night. This is usually considered when a prisoner is coming close to the end of their sentence.
- Full temporary release until the end of the sentence. This is normally granted if a prisoner has been progressing well on day-to-day temporary release.
When the Minister is deciding whether to grant temporary release, a number of different factors are considered:
- The nature and circumstances of the crime you committed
- Your own attitude towards rehabilitation
- Your educational, training and employment needs and opportunities
- Your behaviour while in prison
- Your family background and the general background
If you are granted temporary release, it will be subject to certain conditions including:
- The requirement to keep the peace and maintain good behaviour during the period of release
- The requirement to maintain sober habits
- The requirement not to publish or communicate anything to the media
You will sign a release form acknowledging that:
- You are aware of the terms and conditions of your release
- Those terms have been explained to you
- You are aware of the time when your period of release ends
While you are outside the prison, you may be considered to be unlawfully at large and may be arrested when:
- The period of release has ended or
- A condition of your release has been broken
If you are discharged from prison whether on temporary or permanent release, the Governor must ensure that you have:
- Sufficient means for travelling to your destination within the State
- Suitable clothing to wear
- Sufficient means to live on, as is considered appropriate in the circumstances