Proposed reform of the parole system has been welcomed today by the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT).
The IPRT wants the Parole Board to be established on a statutory basis, for the criteria for release decision-making to be set out in legislation, and for the removal of release decision-making from political control.
The body has welcomed today the restated commitment of Justice minister Charles Flanagan to work with the Opposition to progress legislation needed to reform the current parole system.
IPRT executive director Fíona Ní Chinnéide (pictured) said “The parole system in Ireland should be coherent, transparent and fair, and it must be removed from political control. This will benefit everyone.
“The distress that can be caused by unclear or inaccurate information should be further minimised through improved investment in victims support services.
She said that parole plays an important role in public safety through supporting the safe reintegration of people serving long sentences back into the community.
In June 2016, IPRT welcomed the Parole Bill 2016 introduced by Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan.
It believes the legislation should be strengthened to ensure that the process is coherent, fair and transparent and also that proposals to increase the minimum number of years before a life-sentenced prisoner can become eligible for parole review must be reconsidered.
That bill aims to “[place] the concept of parole on a clearer statutory footing under the remit of an independent expert body.”