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.
12th March 2021
A guest blog post from academic researchers Dr. Ian D. Marder (Maynooth University) and Dr. Eoin Guilfoyle (University of Bristol) on the principles that might underpin sentencing guidelines in Ireland.
11th January 2021
The Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research (ICPR) has published a report revealing disparities between countries in their approaches to criminal sentencing. The overarching aims of the ten-country project are to understand the drivers of prison population trends, and to devise measures for reducing levels of incarceration.
6th January 2021
The Sentencing Academy (England and Wales) has published a report examining research findings on the effectiveness, particularly in terms of reducing re-offending, of three sentencing disposals.
2nd October 2020
This report by the Sentencing Advisory Council (Australia) considers the relationship between remand and sentencing, and identifies the proportion of remanded children who did not go on to receive a custodial sentence for their offending.
31st August 2020
The Law Reform Commission has published a 'Report on Suspended Sentences'. The report examines the legislation and the principles that underpin the operation of suspended sentences in Ireland and makes a number of proposals as to how the suspended sentence might be used more effectively.
15th June 2020
MEDIA ADVISORY: The Irish Prison Service Annual Report 2019 shows a significant increase of people committed to prison in Ireland in 2019, including a 21% increase in the number of committals for sentences of less than 12 months and a worrying increase in committals for the non-payment of court-ordered fines.
7th April 2020
The Council of Europe (CoE) has published 'SPACE I' Annual Penal Statistics on Prison Populations 2019. The report contains a detailed breakdown of penological trends across Europe. See IPRT's summary of key findings from both European and Irish perspectives.
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.
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.