Sentencing

A strategic goal of IPRT is to promote reform of Irish sentencing practice in a number of key areas.

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.

IPRT believes that mandatory and presumptive sentencing regimes are not effective. By removing or restricting judicial discretion, it denies the courts of the opportunity to choose sentences which are fair, proportionate and that reflect all the relevant circumstances of specific cases.

We also advocate for publication of sentencing data and analysis of this data. 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.

UK: Sentencing Young Adults 20th September 2018

The Howard League for Penal Reform has published research on the need for the development of formal sentencing principles for young adults. Read more

The Irish Times: Sharp increase in Irish prison population 6th August 2018

The Irish Times has published an article and an editorial detailing the sharp increase in Ireland’s prison population in 2018, following years of decline and stability. Read more

IPRT Submission to the Law Reform Commission on Suspended Sentences 6th April 2018

IPRT answers questions relating to suspended sentences posed by the Law Reform Commission in their call for submissions. Read more

IPRT Submissions to the Law Reform Commission 9th February 2018

IPRT made two submissions to the Law Reform Commission for their Fifth Programme of Law Reform. Read more

The Campbell Collaboration - Policy Brief 4: The Effects of Sentencing Policy on Re-Offending 14th November 2017

The Campbell Collaboration released a fourth Policy Brief, 'The Effects of Sentencing Policy on Re-offending', which summarises information provided in 12 systematic reviews that focused on different aspects of sentencing policy, such as, benefit-cost analyses of sentencing, formal processing of juveniles, and effects on re-offending of custodial vs non-custodial sanctions. Read more

Sentencing Proposals: Sexual Offences 11th July 2017

IPRT has a number of concerns about proposals included in the Criminal Justice (Commission of Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2017 [PMB], which may have unintended negative consequences. Read more

UK: Sentencing Council publishes new guidelines on sentencing children and young people and offenders who plead guilty 7th March 2017

The Sentencing Council (England & Wales) has published two new sentencing guidelines, to come into effect from 1st June 2017. One deals with how courts should make a reduction in sentence for offenders who plead guilty, and the other deals with the approach they should take when sentencing children and… Read more

IPRT Position Paper 3: Mandatory Sentencing 22nd February 2017

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

Parole Bill 2016 21st June 2016

The Parole Board is to be given statutory footing in a new Private Member's Bill brought before the Dáil this month. Read more

US Study: Treating More Thefts as a Less-Serious Crime did not lead Property Crime to Increase 9th March 2016

Since 2001, more than 30 US states have raised the threshold on what can be charged as a serious theft. In a recent brief the PEW Charitable Trusts examined what impact, if any, this change had on the rates of theft in different states. Read more

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