Irish Penal Reform Trust

Sentencing

A strategic goal of IPRT is to promote reform of Irish sentencing practice in a number of key areas.

Our starting point is that imprisonment itself causes a number of serious social harms, therefore imprisonment should only be used sparingly at the point of sentencing and the numbers in prison should be reduced.

As a key strategic goal for IPRT, we aim to promote the embedding and extension of the principle that detention should only be used as a last resort, while remaining committed to retaining and supporting the principles of proportionality and judicial independence in sentencing.

IPRT believes that mandatory and presumptive sentencing regimes are not effective. By removing or restricting judicial discretion, it denies the courts of the opportunity to choose sentences which are fair, proportionate and that reflect all the relevant circumstances of specific cases.

We also advocate for publication of sentencing data and analysis of this data. In practice, we believe that greater transparency in sentencing can be achieved, as well as better coordination between sentencing authorities and other agencies on the penal system.

Scotland: Public perceptions of sentencing

19th September 2019

The Scottish Sentencing Council have published new research this month, exploring public attitudes and levels of knowledge of sentencing options in Scotland.

IPRT responds to annual report from Irish Prison Service

24th June 2019

While positive reforms have been made in penal policy in recent years, an over-reliance on prison sentences within the judicial system means our prisons are becoming increasingly overcrowded.

Law Reform Commission publishes Fifth Programme of Law Reform

5th June 2019

IPRT welcomes the inclusion of ‘Structured Sentencing’ as a project in the LRC’s Fifth Programme of Law Reform.

Scotland: Extension of the presumption against short custodial sentences

17th May 2019

The Scottish Government has today officially announced plans to extend the current presumption against short custodial sentences.

UK: A study of the impact of a presumption against custodial sentences of three months or less in Scotland

8th May 2019

Crest evaluates the impact of the introduction of a presumption against the use of custodial sentences of three months or less in Scotland in 2011.

US: ‘Can we downsize our prisons and jails without compromising public safety?’ Findings from California’s Prop 47

1st May 2019

After a referendum was passed in 2014 in California to recategorise some nonviolent offences as misdemeanours, rather than felonies, what have the effects been on the crime rate?

UK: Draft sentencing guidelines for offenders with mental health conditions

12th April 2019

The Sentencing Council has launched a consultation on its proposed guideline on sentencing offenders with mental health conditions or disorders in England and Wales.

UK: Sentencing Young Adults

20th September 2018

The Howard League for Penal Reform has published research on the need for the development of formal sentencing principles for young adults.

The Irish Times: Sharp increase in Irish prison population

6th August 2018

The Irish Times has published an article and an editorial detailing the sharp increase in Ireland’s prison population in 2018, following years of decline and stability.

IPRT Submission to the Law Reform Commission on Suspended Sentences

6th April 2018

IPRT answers questions relating to suspended sentences posed by the Law Reform Commission in their call for submissions.

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

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  • Tel: 01 874 1400
  • info@iprt.ie
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