The Law Reform Commission (LRC) invited submissions to their Fifth Programme of Law Reform. Under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975, the Commission is required to prepare from time to time a Programme of Law Reform, which forms the principal basis on which they carry out their statutory mandate to keep the law under review with a view to its reform and modernisation. The new Programme of Law Reform will, as provided by the 1975 Act, be prepared by the Commission in consultation with the Attorney General for submission by the Taoiseach to the Government for approval.
The first of the two submissions made by the Irish Penal Reform Trust to the LRC was on the topic of Prison Law Reform. In the submission, IPRT proposes that the Law Reform Commission consider undertaking a comprehensive review of current prison law in Ireland (including the Prisons Act 2007 and Prison Rules 2007) as part of its Fifth Programme of Law Reform. It has been over a decade since this primary Act and statutory instrument were introduced.
The second of our submissions was on the topic of Sentencing Guidelines. IPRT believes the Law Reform Commission should consider undertaking a comprehensive review of sentencing practice in Ireland. A number of issues of concern have already been identified by a number of bodies including the LRC, IPRT and a number of academics on sentencing practice. These include but are not limited to:
- a lack of clear consensus on the purpose of sentencing
- a lack of coherent sentencing policy
- potential accommodation of abuse within the system
- disparity and inconsistency
- absence of discretion (e.g. mandatory sentences)
- public mistrust in the sentencing process
- absence of sentencing guidelines
- limited public information on sentencing law and practice
Our submission on 'Review of Sentencing/Potential of Sentencing Guidelines' is available here.
Our submission on 'Prison Law Review' is available here.