IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Irish Times: Life Sentence Prisoners and Parole Decisions in Ireland

10th February 2015

Writing in The Irish Times, Conor Lally reports on the research of Dr. Diarmuid Griffin, which illustrates that the number of prisoners serving life sentences in Ireland has increased, as well as the length of time that they are serving behind bars.

Figures produced as part of new research show that the amount of prisoners serving life-sentences has increased by 130% from 2001 to 2013. Furthermore, the length of time served by life-sentenced prisoners has increased from an average of 11 years for prisoners released at the end of 2002, to 22 years for prisoners released in 2013.

Conor Lally has also highlighted investigative analysis conducted by Dr. Griffin into the informal and often unstructured processes surrounding both the make-up and the determinations of the Irish Parole Board.

IPRT has previously called for an independent statutory Parole Board to be established and for it to take over the decision-making on life-sentenced and long-sentenced prisoners.

Dr. Griffin, a law lecturer in NUI Galway, has conducted extensive research into life imprisonment and parole determinations as part of his PhD study entitled, 'The Release and Recall of Life Sentence Prisoners: Discretion, Informality and Politics', which is available here.

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