The Department of Justice is to carry out a review of how remission is applied to prisoners, as part of a wider review of penal policy that is due to be published by the end of the year.
Announcing the move, Hildegarde Naughton (Minister of State at the Department of Justice, pictured) described remission – a reduction in the term of a prison sentence – as an important aspect of the prison regime.
“I am anxious to ensure that the system of remission is proportionate and serves to rehabilitate prisoners, whilst also ensuring that appropriate sanctions are in place in instances where there is misconduct,” she said.
“Where prisoners don’t meet the standards that we can reasonably expect of them, that should have consequences,” the minister added.
Breaches of discipline
Currently, prisoners sentenced to a definite term qualify for one-quarter remission for good behaviour. Those serving life sentences, sentences for the enforcement of court orders, or those sentenced for contempt of court, are not eligible for remission.
A loss of up to 14 days remission, however, can be imposed on prisoners for serious breaches of discipline – such as assaults, intentionally or recklessly damaging property, the detention of any person against their will, or for escape or absconding.
The disciplinary system that covers prisoners – known as the P19 system – is dealt with in the Prisons Act 2007 and the Prison Rules 2007.