Irish Penal Reform Trust A conviction for €4 worth of cannabis 'just defies logic', say campaigners

22nd May 2021

Following a report in the Irish Examiner (16 May 2021) about a person formerly addicted to heroin appearing before the courts charged with possession of €4 worth of cannabis, spoke to advocacy groups working in the areas of drug addiction and penal reform.

In the article (22 May 2021), IPRT Executive Director Fíona Ní Chinnéide commented:

“In all responses to offending, what you want to do is to reduce the offending. Of course, where harm is caused to another individual, that there needs to be accountability. But the ultimate goal has to be a reduction in re-offending.

“All the evidence is that the resources are better put into public health, which addresses the nature and cause of addiction. Early interventions like diversion or mentoring are likely to interrupt the pattern of addiction and to make better use of resources.”

Speaking about how those who break free of addiction or poverty continue to be disadvantaged if they are convicted, Fíona continued:

“That conviction could become a barrier to education, work, international travel, accommodation or even in getting insurance throughout their adult lives.

“It’s effectively lifelong punishment for a period of your life which could have been decades in the past, from which you’ve moved on.”

Read the article in full on

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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