IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Sentencing

IPRT recognises the critical role of sentencing in the penal system.

Our starting point is that imprisonment itself causes a number of serious social harms, therefore imprisonment should only be used sparingly at the point of sentencing and the numbers in prison should be reduced.

As a key strategic goal for IPRT, we aim to promote the embedding and extension of the principle that detention should only be used as a last resort, while remaining committed to retaining and supporting the principles of proportionality and judicial independence in sentencing.

The principle of parsimony in the use of imprisonment is reflected in section 96 of the Children Act 2001, which directs sentencing courts to use imprisonment only as a last resort. IPRT believes that this principle should also be enshrined in legislation for adult offenders and that there should be an onus on judges to exhaust all other options before imposing a custodial sentence. IPRT will be monitoring closely over the next few years how this principle is being applied in relation to the youth justice system.

In practice, we believe that greater transparency in sentencing can be achieved as well as better coordination between sentencing authorities and other agencies on the penal system.

Irish Examiner, 'Significant' fall in the numbers being jailed' 28th December 2013

Figures up to the end of November show that there were nearly 15,000 committals in that period. Whereas, there were over 17,000 committals in the same period in 2012. Read more

CSO: Statistics on recidivism rates for prisoners released in 2008 18th December 2013

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has released figures on recidivism rates among prisoners released from custody of the Irish Prison Service in 2008. Read more

IPRT Position Paper 3: Mandatory Sentencing 7th August 2013 PDF documents

A Position Paper setting out IPRT's position on mandatory and presumptive sentencing. Read more

ISIS Launch New Bulletin ‘Just Sentencing: News and Comment’ 20th March 2013

The Irish Sentencing Information System (ISIS) has launched a new bulletin written by Tom O’Malley B.L., aiming to keep readers informed of developments in sentencing in Ireland and abroad. Read more

IPRT welcomes increase in use of community sanctions as alternative to prison 15th August 2012

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) welcomes the significant increase in the use of community sanctions as an alternative to imprisonment revealed in The Probation Service Annual Report 2011, which was published today. Read more

IPRT calls for Parole Board reform 7th August 2012

The Parole Board should operate independent of government and on a statutory basis. Read more

IPRT Submission to the LRC Consultation on Mandatory Sentencing 30th April 2012

The IPRT submission to the Law Reform Commission consultation process on mandatory sentencing is published here. Read more

UK: Drug Mule Sentencing Cut in New Sentencing Guidelines 24th January 2012

Under new sentencing guidelines in England and Wales, those who have been exploited by criminal gangs and forced in to smuggling drugs, will receive more lenient sentences. Read more

Law Reform Commission: Consultation Paper on Mandatory Sentences 19th January 2012

The Law Reform Commission has today published a Consultation Paper on Mandatory Sentences. Read more

UK: 'Murder life sentence overhaul would get public support, reformers claim' 6th December 2011

A report published by the Homicide Advisory Review Group argues that the public would be open to ending mandatory life imprisonment for murder. Read more

Key Issues