Irish Penal Reform Trust

IPS Examination of the Sentence Management of people serving Life Sentences

8th May 2018

A report examining the sentence management of life-sentenced prisoners has been produced by a committee of representatives from the IPS, the Probation Service and the Policy Division of the Department of Justice and Equality.

In carrying out its analysis, the Committee met with people serving life sentences in both open and closed prisons, prison Governors, staff and prison-based services. External in-reach services and stakeholders were also consulted.

Recommendations to improve sentence management include:

  • early multi-disciplinary assessment; 
  • annual Governor led reviews; 
  • recognition of the positive contribution of the family/significant other; 
  • the adoption and expansion of an Independent Living Skills Unit model; 
  • the significance of the role of Integrated Sentence Management; 
  • the need for greater coordination of interventions; the transition to and role of Open Centres; 
  • the establishment of a specialised unit for people who are institutionalised; 
  • and the need for an Open Centre in Dublin.

Recommendations in relation to the Parole Board focus on efficiencies and clarity and include:

  • that the first review take place after 10 years rather than the present seven; 
  • that consideration should be given to whether determinate sentences should be reviewed; 
  • the need to review the range and content of reports provided to assist the Parole Board in their work; 
  • the need for clarity on the role of the Parole Board in relation to Temporary Release; 
  • and the need to strengthen the role of Parole Board Liaison Officers

The report also recommends that a group be established to oversee implementation of the Committee’s findings.

See more: 

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



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