Revealed: Longford the county with most people jailed in 2021, new figures show
– 3h ago
Longford was the county in Ireland with the highest number of people sent to prison per capita last year, with Donegal the lowest, new data has revealed.
Figures based on the home addresses provided by individuals handed down prison sentences by the courts in 2021 show a committal rate of 16.1 per 10,000 for people living in Longford.
It represents a committal rate of almost twice the national average with over nine out of every 10,000 individuals living here given a prison sentence last year.
Other counties with above-average rates in 2021 were Limerick (14.6 per 10,000 population) and Dublin (12.9).
Donegal recorded the lowest rate at just 3.4 per 10,000.
The figures published by the Irish Prison Service also reveal the number of people sent to prison reached its lowest level in 15 years in 2021.
They show total committals to the country’s 12 prisons last year dropped by 1.6pc.
A total of 5,179 convicted criminals were incarcerated in 2021 – a reduction of 84 cases on 2020 and down from a peak of almost 14,200 in 2015.
It is the lowest annual figure for committals since 2007.
The IPS figures also show that 70PC of people sent to prison last year were given sentences of 12 months or less.
People jailed for theft offences represented the biggest proportion of individuals jailed in 2021, accounting for 16pc of all new prisoners.
However, almost three-quarters of inmates jailed for theft received terms of imprisonment of 12 months or less.
A total of 189 individuals were sent to jail in 2021 after being convicted of sexual offences, with 28pc of those receiving prison terms in excess of five years.
Fourteen sex offenders – 7pc of such prisoners – were jailed for 10 years or more.
The IPS figures show 38 people were jailed for homicide offences last year with half of them receiving mandatory life for murder. A total of 30 prisoners committed for offences relating to assault, attempted murder and threats last year were handed down sentences of over five years
Official figures show 4,070 prisoners were Irish nationals, representing almost 79pc of new committals during 2021 with citizens of other EU member states and Britain accounting for another 15pc.
A total of 339 homeless people classified as having “no fixed abode” were jailed last year, while 59 people normally resident outside Ireland were sent to prison.
For the first time since 2008, less than one in 10 individuals sent to prison last year were female. A total of 378 women were committed in 2021, representing 9.5pc of prisoners.
In contrast, more than one in five of all prisoners incarcerated during 2015 were females when almost 3,000 women were jailed.
The figures also show that women are more likely to receive shorter sentences with 85pc of female prisoners sentenced to 12 months or less last year compared to 69pc of males.