12th September 2019
Department of Justice Publishes Parole Board Annual Report 2018
The Parole Board Annual Report 2018 was published by the Department of Justice and Equality on Wednesday, 11th September 2019. The Parole Board deals with individuals serving a sentence of 8 years or more. 63 new cases were referred to the Parole Board in 2018, with 41 individuals accepting the invitation. Those with an indeterminate life sentence were more likely to participate in the parole process than those serving a determinate sentence.
The average time served by life-sentence prisoners in 2018 was 17.5 years, down from 18 years in 2017. Two prisoners out on licence were recalled to prison in 2018; one due to an assault charge and one at his own request in the context of public safety concerns. As of 31st January 2019, there were 348 individuals serving life sentences in Irish prisons; at this time one person had served over 40 years and the majority had served 10 to 15 years.
The Parole Bill 2016 has recently been made law but this did not impact the 2018 report. The new legislation will ensure that the Parole Board has the final say on parole decisions and operates independently of the Minister for Justice. The 2019 Act will also increase the time spent in custody before parole review eligibility from 7 years to 12 years. It is worth emphasising that no individual serving a life sentence in Ireland had ever been granted parole at the 7-year review mark.
The full report is available here
A statement by the Department of Justice is available here
Irish Legal News article available here
Irish Times article by Brian Hutton available here
The Parole Act 2019 is available here