Belfast Telegraph

All inmates back after festive leave

By Deborah McAleese

More than 80 prisoners, including 11 who are serving life sentences, have returned to jail after being granted permission to spend the festive season at home.

The Prison Service agreed to let 87 inmates go home for Christmas as part of its home leave scheme. Another six were granted early release.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said all prisoners granted home-leave at Christmas have returned to custody.

In total, 20 prisoners were released from the high security jail at Maghaberry as part of the Christmas home leave scheme, 55 inmates were granted leave from the lower security Magilligan Prison, eight juveniles were released from the Young Offenders Centre at Hydebank and four women were granted leave from the female prison at Hydebank.

The periods of release were granted for varying periods from December 23 to January 3.

However, one inmate who was granted a temporary release pass last month, not related to Christmas home leave, remains unlawfully at large.

Joseph Reid Mitchell (33), who is serving time for burglary, shoplifting, theft and assaulting police, went on the run from Maghaberry Prison on December 22 while on temporary home leave.

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