A total of 90 people have been in prison for more than a year without having been convicted of any crime, new figures have revealed.
They are among 723 prisoners currently in custody in Irish prisons, 22 of whom have been behind bars for more than two years.
The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) has expressed “major concern” about the statistics, saying people in prison should only be used as a “last resort”.
“These are individuals who may not be found guilty of any crime,” said Saoirse Brady, IPRT Executive Director.
“Pre-trial detention affects the presumption of innocence, the right to liberty, the right to access a lawyer and family rights.
“It is of particular concern when pre-trial detention is so long and this impacts on a person’s access to the rights of justice. If the person is … a primary caregiver or the primary breadwinner in a family, then that has broader implications for the whole family,” she added.
The new figures were released by Justice Secretary Heather Humphreys in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Darren O’Rourke.
They show that 68 people have been in prison for between one and two years without having been convicted of a crime, while 127 have been in pre-trial detention for between six months and one year.
While the information provided by Minister Humphreys related to the reasons for such lengthy pre-trial detention, the IPRT suggested that the Covid-19 pandemic had caused delays in the criminal justice system.
“IPRT has campaigned against the increasing use of pre-trial detention for many years and we recognize that pre-trial detention should only be used as a last resort,” said Ms Brady.
Almost half of the pre-trial detainees are currently held at Cloverhill in Clondalkin, which mainly houses pre-trial detainees from the Leinster area. Of these, 34 have been with us for more than a year.
A total of 11 prisoners who have been held on remand for more than two years are currently behind bars at Cloverhill, while three are being held at both Mountjoy and Midlands prisons.
Two inmates at Portlaoise and Castlerea prisons have been remanded in custody for more than two years, along with one person at Wheatfield Prison.
https://www.independent.ie/news/ninety-people-detained-in-the-irish-prison-system-for-more-than-a-year-without-being-convicted-of-any-crime-42226687.html Ninety people who have been held in the Irish prison system for more than a year without having been convicted of any crime