IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Parole Board Annual Report for 2012 published

23rd October 2013

The Minister for Justice has published the Annual Report for 2012 of the Parole Board.

The report details the number of cases reviewed; the number of prison interviews held; the number of recommendations made to the Minister that were accepted/rejected, and more.

Of 66 prisoner cases referred to the Board for review during 2012, 44 prisoners accepted the invitation to participate, and 17 (just over 25% declined); 5 invitations to participate were not determined.

Recommendations were sent to the Minister for Justice and Equality in 91 of the cases reviewed. The recommendations in 57 cases were accepted in full by the Minister; two recommendations were not accepted; five cases were accepted conditionally or in part. At the end of the year there were 27 decisions still pending.

IPRT Response:

  1. IPRT welcomes the restated commitment by the Minister for Justice that he will introduce legislation in 2014 to place the Parole Board on statutory footing.
  2. IPRT also welcomes the report's support of the Oireachtas Justice Committee recommendation to increase remission from one quarter to one third, linked to an enhanced remission regime.
  3. IPRT welcomes the proactive engagement with prisoners during 2012 in terms of information provision around the process, and soliciting feedback from prisoners, along with plans to publish, "in the near future", an information leaflet on Parole, for the benefit of prisoners.

IPRT Position:

In October 2012, IPRT published theIPRT Position Paper 9: Reform of Remission, Temporary Release and Parole which called on a number of reforms, including: for an independent statutory Parole Board to be established and to take over decision-making on the release of life-sentenced and long-sentenced prisoners. Our recommendations included:

  • removing the role of the Minister in decision-making on release of long-term prisoners;
  • extending the remit of the Parole Board to include early release applications of those sentenced 5-8 years;
  • setting time limits for when parole hearings must take place;
  • and giving a right to legal representation before the Parole Board.

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