Irish Penal Reform Trust


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.

U.S. Report: Ways of addressing the nation’s scale of incarceration

20th October 2015

The United States maintains its distinction as the nation with the highest rate of incarceration in the world. A report entitled, “The State of Sentencing 2014 Developments in Policy and Practice” was published by The Sentencing Project who are a national non-profit organization in the U S. The report documents the range of law and policy changes which were authorised by legislators in at least 30 states during 2014 which may have the effect of addressing the nation’s scale of incarceration.

The moral failures of America's prison-industrial complex

20th July 2015

An article in the Economist explains the moral issues of the mass-incarceration of Americans.

Irish Examiner, 'Significant' fall in the numbers being jailed'

28th December 2013

Figures up to the end of November show that there were nearly 15,000 committals in that period. Whereas, there were over 17,000 committals in the same period in 2012.

CSO: Statistics on recidivism rates for prisoners released in 2008

18th December 2013

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has released figures on recidivism rates among prisoners released from custody of the Irish Prison Service in 2008.

The Report on Mandatory Sentencing and Parole Board Reform

11th June 2013

The Report was conducted by The Law Reform Commission and is supported by The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) who have campaigned against mandatory and presumptive sentencing.

ISIS Launch New Bulletin ‘Just Sentencing: News and Comment’

20th March 2013

The Irish Sentencing Information System (ISIS) has launched a new bulletin written by Tom O’Malley B.L., aiming to keep readers informed of developments in sentencing in Ireland and abroad.

IPRT welcomes increase in use of community sanctions as alternative to prison

15th August 2012

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) welcomes the significant increase in the use of community sanctions as an alternative to imprisonment revealed in The Probation Service Annual Report 2011, which was published today.

IPRT calls for Parole Board reform

7th August 2012

The Parole Board should operate independent of government and on a statutory basis.

IPRT Submission to the LRC Consultation on Mandatory Sentencing

30th April 2012

The IPRT submission to the Law Reform Commission consultation process on mandatory sentencing is published here.

UK: Drug Mule Sentencing Cut in New Sentencing Guidelines

24th January 2012

Under new sentencing guidelines in England and Wales, those who have been exploited by criminal gangs and forced in to smuggling drugs, will receive more lenient sentences.

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



Contact us

  • Tel: 01 874 1400
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