Irish Penal Reform Trust

Sentencing

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.

IPRT welcomes Penal Policy Review and Action Plan as a Major Step in the Right Direction

31st August 2022

The Irish Penal Reform Trust has today (Wed 31 August 2022) welcomed the Penal Policy Review and associated Action Plan approved by Cabinet. 

Prison recidivism 2016 and 2019 cohorts

21st June 2022

CSO reoffending data show that almost 62.3% of people released from prison in 2016 re-offended within three years of their release. The data indicates that 44.6% of people released from prison in 2019 reoffended in the year following their release.

First Interim Report on Assessing Methodological Approaches to Sentencing Data & Analysis

20th January 2022

The Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee has published the First Interim Report prepared by the University of Strathclyde as part of a project entitled “Assessing Methodological Approaches to Sentencing Data Collection & Analysis”. The report explores the statistical information necessary to support guideline construction and guideline monitoring.

Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee publishes Sentencing Judgement Guidelines for the General Public

10th January 2022

The Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee has published a short information guide for the public on the core factors influencing sentencing, in the form of bullet points. 

Developing Sentencing Guidelines for Ireland: The Principles and Purposes of Sentencing

21st October 2021

This IPRT and ICBA Prison Law Seminar took place online on Thursday 21st October 2021, with the keynote address delivered by The Hon. Ms. Justice Iseult O'Malley.

Scottish Sentencing Council: Public perceptions of sentencing for sexual offences

8th July 2021

This research examines in-depth public perceptions of sentencing of sexual offences in Scotland, including the perceptions of victims of sexual offences.

IPRT Briefing on the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill 2021

30th June 2021

This Bill seeks to implement the Supreme Court ruling in Wayne Ellis v Minister for Justice [2019] and repeal provisions relating to mandatory minimum sentences that apply when an offender commits a second or subsequent offence under the relevant legislation. IPRT believes the Bill could go further than simply repealing these limited provisions.

Mandatory minimum sentencing: High Court decision on section 27(3F) of the Misuse of Drugs Act

7th June 2021

The High Court has ruled that mandatory minimum sentencing for those with previous convictions for serious drug trafficking is contrary to the Constitution.

Guest blog: Developing smart principles for sentencing guidelines in Ireland

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.

Sentencing Burglary, Drug Importation and Murder: Evidence From Ten Countries

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.

Our work is supported by

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

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