The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has published the Parole Board Annual Report for 2017.
IPRT welcomes the restated commitment of the Minister to progress legislation to establish the Parole Board on a statutory basis.
IPRT welcomed the introduction in June 2016 by Deputy Jim O’Callaghan TD of his Private Member’s Bill, Parole Bill 2016, which aims to “[place] the concept of parole on a clearer statutory footing under the remit of an independent expert body.” While acknowledging that the Bill represents a welcome move towards reform, IPRT is concerned in relation to a number of the provisions of the Bill. Full details in the IPRT submission below.
Within the Board's report, issues relating to mental health among prisoners, the parole board process, prison visits and victims and families are all highlighted.
The report also notes some important statistics. In 2017, 66 cases were referred to the Board which was an increase of two from 64 in the previous year. The Board conducted a total of 114 prisoner interviews. Thirty per cent of referred cases were for the offence of Murder, with 26 per cent being the second highest for Sex Offences. There was also a total of 114 recommendations made to the Minister for Justice in 2017, an increase from 98 recommendations the previous year. Read the report in full below.