Irish prison chiefs spend €170k on pay TV for prisoners

Irish prison chiefs spend €170k on pay TV for prisoners

The Irish Prison Service has spent almost €170,000 on pay TV, including Sky Sports, for inmates over the past two years.

The total figure spent by jail chiefs on TV subscriptions comes to €169,648, consisting of €85,898 in 2015 and €83,750 in 2014.

The huge Pay TV sum includes luxury channel Sky Sports being provided to prisoners on ‘enhanced landings’ in certain prisons through communal televisions in recreation rooms, according to the Irish Daily Star.

The IPS have also shelled out €224,435 on brand new TVs for inmates in 2015, adding to 2014’s figure of €215,992.

The €440,000+ spend is offset by rent received from prisoners, which totalled €203,000 last year and €214,000 in 2014.

This brings the net spend on new TVs to €23,000.

Each prisoner pays rent of €1.05 every week to rent a TV from the prison service.

However, there is no mention of inmates contributing to the expensive TV subscriptions made available by the IPS.

A spokesman for the service told the Star that TVs first became available in Irish prison cells in 2002.

"Following the introduction of TVs, the incidents of self-harm and suicide dramatically dropped in our prisons."

He added: "Prisoners serving sentences are very much isolated from society and access to televisions, radios and newspapers are important to help prisoners keep connected with society and their communities.

"In addition, they also provide entertainment when locked in their cells. Most prisoners spend on average 16 hours per day locked in their cells."