PRISONERS are twice as likely to escape from jails in Ireland compared to the rest of Europe, a report has revealed.
Figures compiled by the Council of Europe in its latest penal statistics report show that there are 14.8 prison escapes for every 10,000 inmates in Ireland, well above the European average of 7.8.
In England and Wales there were 1.6 escapes for every 10,000 inmates, whereas in Northern Ireland there were none.
The study of the 47 Council of Europe countries revealed that six inmates escaped from Irish prisons in 2013. The most recent figures show that 472 offenders had not returned to prison after temporary release, a hospital visit or by walking out of an open unit.
In 2013, there were nine deaths, including two suicides, in Irish prisons.
A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service told The Irish Post that the six escapes reported in the study were from Youth Detention Centres, not prisons.
“We’ve had no escapes from prisons,” he said. “The figures from 2013 in the report referred to [Youth] Detention centres, not prisons.
“Also, the 472 inmates stated as being at large are those that were given temporary release to see family or friends, for example, and committed technical breaches. This means that they failed to return on a specific day to sign the necessary forms.”
The report found that in 2014 there were 1.6 million people in prison across Europe.
While it states that many of the countries’ prisons are reaching capacity, Ireland’s prison population stands at 83.1 inmates for every 100,000 people.
This is lower in comparison to 149.7 in England and Wales, 101.3 in Northern Ireland and 147.6 in Scotland.
In addition, it costs €180 a day to imprison someone in Ireland, nearly €110 in England and Wales, or €358 in Norway.