How a determinate custodial sentence works
A judge will fix the amount of time which must be spent in custody as well as a period on licence. The custody part of the sentence cannot be greater than half of the overall sentence. Prisoners are released on licence at the end of their custodial period automatically.
During the licence period, an offender is liable to recall to custody if they break their licence conditions. If recalled, an offender may have to serve the rest of their sentence in custody. All recalls are reviewed by the Parole Commissioners (PCNI) who can re-release an offender before the end of the licence period.