Life sentence prisoners released in 2016 served 22 years on average
Life sentence prisoners released in 2016 served an average of 22 years in custody, up from 17 and a half in 2015, The Irish Times reports.
Figures released by the Irish Prison Service show seven life sentence prisoners were released last year. A total of 352 life prisoners were in custody at the end of the year, while a further 83 were serving life sentences in the community.
The average time served in custody by life sentence prisoners has increased steadily in the past four decades.
Dr Diarmuid Griffin from the NUI Galway School of Law told The Irish Times: “If you look at what has happened in the 30-40 year time period, there doesn’t seem to be any indication of a reversal of the trend for longer sentences.”
Dr Griffin also called for “a more consistent approach” and “some constraint placed” on that trend.
He suggested Ireland’s parole system - whereby the release from custody of a life sentence prisoner is approved by the Justice Minister - is to blame for the steady increases in the length of life sentences.