In today's Irish Times, Professor Ian O' Donnell discusses the need for increased scrutiny of the parole process for life sentenced prisoners in Ireland. International comparisons are made which illustrate the level of uncertainty apparent within the Irish parole release process. The Irish parole process sharply contrasts with its international counterparts where many countries adopt a highly structured and independent process. This shift away from previous political influence has not yet been emulated by the Irish parole system. As a result, a void exists between what policy sanctions and what actually occurs in practice.