More than half of inmates earn a full ‘pocket money’ reward for good behavior

More than half of the prisoners receive the maximum pocket money in prison as a reward for their good behavior.

Years ago, the Irish Prison Service (IPS) announced a plan under which inmates would earn their weekly cash allowance. Previously, inmates received a daily allowance of €2.35, which meant that the state paid inmates pocket money of €16.45 per week.

But in 2012, the prison service decided that inmates should not automatically be entitled to receive the same level of pocket money. Instead, they should earn it by proving they want to rehabilitate.

There are currently three levels of pocket money available in Irish prisons. The lowest, or “basic,” is 95 cents a day, which inmates with little commitment to work, rehabilitation, or education behind bars receive.

Those at the ‘standard’ level are paid €1.70 per day, while inmates deemed exemplary can earn €2.20 per day for model behavior at the ‘reinforced’ level.

The figures communicated to Sunday Independent of the IPS show that 52% of the prison population, or 1,978 inmates, are at the “reinforced” level, while 42%, 1,567 inmates, are at the “standard” level.

Meanwhile, only 6% of inmates have “basic” pocket money, which translates to just 217 criminals.

Also, inmates can earn extra money through a work program.

An IPS spokesperson said: “The daily amount of approved work gratuity is set for all prisons/institutions at 50 cents per session, with a maximum of €3.50 per week for training activities. work, such as kitchen work, laundry, industrial cleaning, grounds maintenance, industrial waste management, painting and stores.

The majority of inmates work in some form of prison employment, from horticulture to kitchens and workshops as well as other occupations.

Wife killer Joe O’Reilly previously worked as a cleaner at Midlands Prison but has since been moved to Wheatfield, while fellow killer Malcolm MacArthur worked in the kitchens of the open prison at Shelton Abbey before his release.

Murderer Graham Dwyer had sought to work in the kitchen at the Midlands prison, but was opposed by female prison staff due to evidence at his trial which highlighted his obsession with knives and stabbing women .

It emerged in January two years ago that prisoners in Irish jails received around €3 million in pocket money in 2019, according to the latest figures.

According to details released under the Freedom of Information Act, inmates in Irish prisons received a total of €2.5million in the first 10 months of 2019.

The report also revealed that the prisoners had received an additional €4.5 million in gifts from family and friends during this period.

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