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IPRT welcomes Penal Policy Review Report as a “blueprint” for a fairer and more effective penal system

17th September 2014

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), Ireland’s leading penal reform campaign organisation, has today (Wednesday, 17 September 2014) warmly welcomed the publication of the final report of the Strategic Review on Penal Policy as a blueprint for a fairer and more effective penal system. IPRT endorses the vast majority of the recommendations, and urges the Minister for Justice and Equality to consider their implementation in full. IPRT will closely shadow the implementation of the Review Group’s recommendations, to ensure that Ireland’s criminal and penal policy meets its stated goal of making Ireland “a safer and fairer place.” 

Responding today on publication of the Report, IPRT Executive Director Deirdre Malone said:

“For twenty years, IPRT has campaigned for a shift in Ireland’s penal policy away from reckless penal expansion, and towards progressive policy based on solid evidence of what works to reduce crime and make society safer. IPRT strongly considers this report as a blueprint of how Ireland’s penal system can and should play its part in a fairer and safer society.”

“The Strategic Review Group has clearly set out the core goals of an effective penal system as one that balances punishment with what actually works to address offending. The significance of this report is that it represents consensus across a range of expertise and backgrounds, including criminal justice agencies, victims groups, and civil society.” 

“However, we are mindful that the Whitaker Report of 1985 contained key recommendations which were never implemented. It is crucial that Government now commits to action on all of the recommendations included in the Review Group Report.”

 “IPRT warmly acknowledges the support that Minister Fitzgerald has given to the review process, and the role that former Minister Alan Shatter TD played in initiating both the Strategic Review Group on Penal Policy and the Thornton Hall Review Group from which the review arose.”

“We would like to thank former Executive Director of IPRT, Liam Herrick, for the crucial role he played in establishing the open and constructive space where such a review could take place, and to IPRT Chairperson Dr Mary Rogan for the key role she played in the final stages in the report.”

For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview with Deirdre Malone, please contact Fíona on: 087 181 2990 

NOTES FOR EDITORS: 

1. The plan to establish a Strategic Review Group on Penal Policy was first announced by former Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter TD during his address at the IPRT Annual Lecture 2011, which took place in the Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place in Dublin on 17 September 2011: http://www.iprt.ie/contents/2173 

2. The Strategic Review Group on Penal Policy arose from the recommendations of the Thornton Hall Review Group, which reported in July 2011: http://www.iprt.ie/contents/2159

3. On 27 March 2013, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality Report on Penal Reform was published, in which five key recommendations included a ‘decarceration strategy’ and an increase in remission to 33%. Report available at:http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/Penal-Reform-Report-13-March-2013-Final.pdf    

4. Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) | www.iprt.ie is Ireland's leading non-governmental organisation campaigning since 1994 for the rights of everyone in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, with prison as a last resort.

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