AROUND 100 prisoners have been approved for temporary release from jail, the NI Prison Service has said.
As part of a contingency plan to deal with Covid-19, they will be freed by Monday, April 6.
The scheme applies to individuals in the last three months of sentences and further releases are likely to follow.
Justice Minister Naomi Long approved the move on Monday – those convicted of offences like murder, domestic abuse, terrorist offences and sex offences are not eligible.
As part of the release conditions, prisoners will be subject to a curfew and banned from contacting their victims.
Any breach will see a prisoner immediately returned to jail.
Mrs Long said final numbers are likely to be below 200.
There are about 1,500 prisoners in the three jails across the North of Ireland – Magilligan, Maghaberry and Hydebank YOC.
About 200 prison officers are currently absent from work due to Coronavirus precautions.
And visits to the North of Ireland’s three jails have been cancelled.Tags: