Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (125, 127)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

125. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if and when statistics for 2018 are being released by the CSO with a view to measuring the extent to which the new bail guidelines are preventing or reducing the incidents of recidivism, with particular reference to the need to determine if a major reduction in reoffending while on bail is being achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27184/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

127. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of incidents of reoffending while on bail that have been reported throughout 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27186/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 and 127 together.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the compilation and publication of the recorded crime statistics, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose. I have asked the CSO to forward any available statistics in relation to the information requested directly to the Deputy.

However, I understand that due to changes to the PULSE system implemented during 2018 in respect of how offenders are recorded, bail figures for 2018 are not directly comparable with previous years.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Criminal Justice Act 2017 strengthens the operation of the bail system with the aim of making the law as effective as possible in protecting the public against crimes committed by persons on bail.

Under the Act, a Court, in considering an application for bail, is required to have regard to persistent serious offending by an applicant for bail and the nature and seriousness of any danger presented by the grant of bail to a person charged with an offence that carries a penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment or more. The Court will also have the power, in certain cases, to hear evidence from the victim of an offence before a decision on bail is taken.

Where an accused person is granted bail, the Act provides for stricter bail terms for repeat serious offenders, strengthens Garda powers to deal with breaches of bail, increases the use of curfews, and, where requested by Gardaí, allows for the introduction of electronic tagging for those on bail in certain circumstances.