Irish Penal Reform Trust

IPRT calls for Parole Board reform

7th August 2012

Following the re-appointment of a retired Irish Prison Service representative to the Parole Board, IPRT have called for reform to establish an independent statutory system for considering the release of prisoners. The Parole Board reviews fixed-term sentences of more than eight years (but less than 14 years) at the halfway point of the sentence and reviews the detention of prisoners serving 14 years or more after seven years (including life sentence prisoners). The current Board is appointed by the Minister for Justice, and the final decision in relation to the release of a prisoner is made by the Minister, not the Board. In the Irish Examiner ('Calls for reform of Parole Board', 7th August 2012), IPRT's Executive Director, Liam Herrick said "The ECHR [European Convention of Human Rights] requires a parole system where decisions on release of prisoners are taken by a body that is fully independent of government. Clearly the current system of ministerial appointment of the Parole Board does not meet the requirement of independence."

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