Irish Penal Reform Trust

Spent Convictions

Securing employment or training, and the ability to rebuild a life after committing an offence, is crucial to breaking the cycle of offending. Effective spent convictions legislation has a major role to play in removing barriers to the reintegration of former offenders and prisoners who have demonstrated that they have moved on from past offending behaviour.

For information on whether the Spent Convictions legislation signed into law in February and commenced end April 2016 applies to you, please see Citizens Information. If this does not answer your question, please contact the Department of Justice - contact details here.

With thanks to we have produced a short information video on Spent Convictions (for convictions received for offences committed over 18). We have also produced an easy-to-read information sheet on spent convictions.

For questions about the Garda Vetting 'Admin Filter', please contact the Garda Central Vetting Unit.

IPRT has been campaigning for robust and extensive Spent Convictions legislation to be introduced in Ireland since 2007. You can read all about our work and recent developments below.

Offences committed under age 18?

Under Section 258 of the Children Act 2001, offences committed by those under eighteen years of age can be expunged from the record once certain conditions are met. See here.

With thanks to, we also have a short information video on Expungement of Convictions (for convictions received for offences committed under 18). We have also produced an easy-to-read information sheet on expungement of convictions.

Minister for Justice publishes Justice Plan 2022

28th March 2022

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD has published Justice Plan 2022, outlining 159 actions to continue building a justice system that works for everyone.

Department of Justice Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

11th March 2022

The Department of Justice has published its first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, with the aim of fostering and increasing equality, diversity and inclusion in the organisation, both for its staff and for those it delivers services to.

NI: Rehabilitation of offenders consultation responses and next steps

21st February 2022

The report on a consultation on proposals to reform rehabilitation periods in Northern Ireland has been published by the Department of Justice NI. The Minister is now progressing plans for reform of the current scheme.

Irish Penal Reform Trust notes areas of regression in the penal system over five years

7th February 2022

MEDIA ADVISORY: In publishing the fifth edition of PIPS, IPRT finds that the penal system – in some key areas of practice – has regressed over the last five years. We called for reforms in custodial sentencing policy so that prison is used as a last resort.

IPRT Submission to the 70th Pre-Sessional Working Group of the CESCR

7th January 2022

This is the Irish Penal Reform Trust’s first submission to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The submission makes the overarching point that Ireland is over-reliant on imprisonment as a response to social issues and socio-economic disadvantage.

IPRT Submission to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on the Review of the Equality Acts

8th December 2021

The main area of focus in the submission is on adding an additional equality ground, namely, discrimination on the basis of a criminal conviction.

NI: Employer Perspectives on Hiring People with Convictions in Northern Ireland

6th October 2021

Ulster University and NIACRO undertook a quantitative study to explore employer practices and concerns, and to investigate what may increase the likelihood of them hiring people with convictions. Less than 1% of employers surveyed stated they would ‘definitely not’ consider hiring someone with a conviction history

Department of Justice: Mid-Year Progress Report on Justice Plan 2021

12th August 2021

The Mid-Year Progress Report on Justice Plan 2021 was published in August, and details the progress made so far to achieve 5 goals - or 240 actions - identified in the Justice Action Plan 2021 published earlier this year.

Passage of the Criminal Justice (Rehabilitative Periods) Bill 2018 through the Seanad

28th June 2021

Senator Lynn Ruane's PMB to expand current spent convictions laws has passed through the Seanad. The next step is for the Bill to be considered, examined, and debated in the Dáil.

Prison recidivism 2015 cohort

25th June 2021

New figures published by the CSO find that almost 62% of people released from prison in 2015 re-offended within three years. In response, the IPRT is calling for the Government to introduce a statutory obligation on agencies co-operate around prisoner release. A conviction for €4 worth of cannabis 'just defies logic', say campaigners

22nd May 2021

Following a report in the Irish Examiner about a person formerly addicted to heroin appearing before the courts charged with possession of €4 worth of cannabis, spoke to advocacy groups working in the areas of drug addiction and penal reform, including IPRT.

Law Society Gazette: Let there be light

17th March 2021

In ‘Let there be light’, featured in the Law Society Gazette, Dara Robinson SC and Aoife McNicholl examine Ireland’s spent convictions regime, set against the international developments.

UK: ‘Angels or Witches’ The Impact of Criminal Records on Women

8th March 2021

The report considers the post-conviction problems faced by women with criminal records.

Justice Plan 2021 and Department of Justice Strategy Statement 2021-2023

22nd February 2021

Justice Plan 2021 is the first of a series of annual plans which the Minister will introduce to drive reforms across the Justice Sector. Each year, the Plan will be updated with new actions and timelines for delivery. IPRT welcomes this transparency.

UK: Implementation of changes to criminal record filtering

19th November 2020

In July 2020, progressive changes to the filtering rules in England and Wales were announced by the government. These changes are expected to come into effect on 28 November 2020.

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



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