Irish Penal Reform Trust

Fines Bill said to cut prison numbers

31st May 2010

Update: Fines Bill 2009 signed into law by the President on 2nd June 2010.

Article appeared in the Irish Times on Saturday the 29th of May written by Jamie Smith. 

New legislation which has passed through the Oireachtas will significantly cut the number of people being jailed for the non payment of fines. This new legislation will give judges the option of handing down community service rather than prison sentences. 

The new legislation judges can also facilitate people to pay their fines in installments over a maximum 24 month period when they are unable to pay the fine in full. There is also the option of seizing goods to pay for the fine rather than the person being sent to prison. It will enable judges to set fines in relation to people's ability to pay the fine referred to as 'equality of impact'. 

The probation service has agreed to increase the maximum number of annual community service orders it handles from 1600 to 6,000. This will greatly reduce the need to send people to prison for the non payment of fines.

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