Prisoners in Portlaoise and other jails costs public nearly €70,000 each a year

Average costs goes up while prisoner numbers fall as over €300 million was spent in 2016

Prisoners in Portlaoise and other jails costs public nearly €70,000 each a year

Each prisoner in Portlaoise's prisons and other Irish jails cost the public more in 2016 than 2015 and is now nearing €70,000 on average, according to the annual report of the Irish Prison Service.

But while the costs have risen, the actual number of people going to prison has gone down according to the figures published in the report. It is also revealed that more than €300 million was spend running Irish jails last year.

The costs are outlined by Michael Donnellan, Director General of the Prison Services in his 2016 annual report.

"The average annual cost of an available prison, staffed prison space during the calendar year 2016 was €69,421, a slight increase on the 2015 cost of €68,628," said the report.

The report says that 2016 saw a decrease in total committals to prison with 15,099 - a decrease of 12.2% on the previous year when more than 17,200 were in jail.

A total of 12,579 people were sent to jail in 2016 compared to 14,182 in 2015. Nearly 80 percent of prisoners are male. 

The overall daily average number of prisoners in custody was 3,718 a decrease of just four on 2015.

Each day, on average in Portlaoise, the Midlands Prison had an average of 814 in custody while Portlaoise Prison had 198 behind bars.

The Government gave the Irish Prison Service a budget of more €332 million to run jails in Portlaoise and elsewhere last year. At the end of the year there were some 3,215 staff.

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