The Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 returns this week at Committee Stage. You can follow the progress of the Bill here.
On 7th March, Minister of State Lucinda Creighton TD delivered a speech on behalf of the Minister for Justice, in which she detailed the main provisions of the Bill, stating: "A previous conviction, including one that resulted in the jailing of an individual, should not be a mark on that person for all time, in all but the minority of serious cases."
Sections 7-11 of the speech are perhaps of most interest, based on the bulk of related queries that IPRT receives, which relate to: international travel, vetting, excluded employment, immigration.
IPRT is disappointed that the Government has not shifted its stance on the upper limit of 12 months custodial sentence which we believe is too restrictive. Following a review of the equivalent legislation in the UK, in force since 1974, the decision was taken to raise the upper limit from 30 months to 48 months. IPRT believes that setting the limit at 12 months from the outset will exclude too many former offenders, who have long since moved on from their offending behaviour, from benefiting from the Bill.
Ultimately, Spent Convictions is about supporting people in their efforts to move on and desist from offending behaviour. It is about giving people a second chance, long after the punishment has been served.
If you believe that the 12 month limit is too low, please consider contacting your local TDs today. You can find out more about our proposed amendments here: IPRT Submission on Spent Convictions Bill 2012