30th April 2009
In its Observations on the Spent Convictions Bill 2007, the Irish Human Rights Commission considers that the 2007 Bill is in line with Ireland’s commitment to rehabilitate and re-integrate offenders back into society. However, in applying the relevant human rights law to the Bill, the IHRC identifies a number of areas of concern, namely: the proposals relating to the period of rehabilitation, the sentencing threshold and the excluded employment.
The IHRC also reiterates the recommendation it made in 2005 that the grounds of discrimination in the Employment Equality Act 1998 should be extended to include discrimination on the basis of a criminal conviction. The IHRC recommended that this should be accompanied by a restructuring of the vetting system, as recommended by the Data Protection Commissioner, and that a system to expunge previous convictions after a fixed period of time should be considered.
Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.