Minister for Justice publishes Justice Plan 2022
28th March 2022
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD has published Justice Plan 2022, outlining 159 actions to continue building a justice system that works for everyone.
Justice Plan 2022 is the second in a series of annual plans introduced by the Minister and builds on the work outlined in Justice Plan 2021. (See IPRT’s review of Justice Plan 2021 and the Mid-Year Progress Report on Justice Plan 2021.)
Among the 159 actions in Justice Plan 2022 are several actions relating to penal reform. These include:
- Establish a mechanism to create awareness and availability of restorative justice at all stages of the CJ system with consistency of service ensuring quality in training and practice (Q2)
- Complete Policy Review of remission and structured temporary release (Q4)
- Publish the Inspection of Places of Detention Bill to enable the ratification of the UN Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on Torture (OPCAT): publish General Scheme (Q1); and publish Bill (Q3)
- Review of the existing functions, powers, appointment procedures and reporting processes for Prison Visiting Committees: finalise the terms of reference for a review (Q2); conduct consultation with relevant stakeholders as required (Q2); delivery of report and recommendation to Government (Q3)
- Deliver on DOJ led actions in the Social Enterprise and Employment Strategy 2021-2023 (Working to Change), including establishing a Department of Justice led Employers’ Forum to assist with the reduction in systemic barriers to employment for people with criminal convictions (Q1)
- Work with the Oireachtas to progress the Criminal Justice (Rehabilitative Periods) Bill 2018 (Ongoing)
- Complete review of the Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014 and begin implementation of agreed actions: complete review of Fines Act and submit proposals to Minister (Q3); and agree implementation plan for agreed actions arising from review (Q4)
- Complete policy review of the Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill 2014 incorporating consideration of a statutory basis for prison as a sanction of last resort: publish policy review (of Community Sanctions Bill) (Q2); agree a validated and revised General Scheme of Bill (Q3); and publish the Bill (Q4)
- Review of Prison and Penal Reform: publish Action Plan for Penal Reform 2022 – 2024 (Q1); and establish Penal Policy Consultative Council (Q3)
- High Level Taskforce on Mental Health and addiction challenges of those who interact with the criminal justice system: complete high level implementation plan for recommendations of the HLTF on Mental Health (Q1); and oversee and monitor implementation of HLTF recommendations implementation plan, and provide quarterly progress reports to the Minister (Q3)
- Review the policy of holding immigration detainees in prisons: complete review and develop action plan (Q2); and commence engagement with stakeholders on implementation of action plan (Q4).
The Plan also sets out an action to bring forward proposals to make changes to the law in relation to life sentences (Q2). In media discussions, Minister McEntee has stated that this will involve the exploration of the sentencing judge setting out a minimum period a person being sentenced to life must serve before they can engage with the Parole Board. IPRT will follow these proposals closely.
The Plan also sets out an action to further advance a project to develop a statutory basis for the Irish Prison Service, and the introduction to the Actions identified under Goal 3 of the Plan also states that the Department “will work with the Irish Prison Service to ensure the implementation of a new complaints system.”
Read the Justice Plan 2022 in full here.