The sixth seminar for the All Party Oireachtas Penal Reform Group of TDs and Senators, and the first of the new Dáil session, focused on Spent Convictions legislation.
Ireland is the only country in the EU, and one of few in the Council of Europe area, which does not have legislation allowing for convictions to be considered spent following a set rehabilitative period.
Speakers at the Oireachtas Seminar on Spent Convictions included:
- Bobby Cummines OBE, former prisoner and currently Chief Executive of UNLOCK
- Dr Shane Kilcommins, lecturer in Law at UCC
- an ex-prisoner - jailed for Section 15A drugs possession - who would, therefore, not benefit from the proposed spent convictions scheme, despite having turned his life around since his release.
Oireachtas members heard how it would be a major missed opportunity to set 6 months as the maximum sentence to which the proposed legislation will apply. Furthermore, excluding wide categories of offence and placing blanket bans on areas of employment will further limit the reach of the proposed Bill, and fail to support large numbers of people who have reformed their lives after mistakes made in their youth.
To find out more about IPRT's campaign work around Spent Convictions, please visit the campaign section of the website here.
Members of the Oireachtas, along with researchers and other support staff, are very welcome to join the All-Party Group on Penal Reform. To find out more, please contact us.