Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (664)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

664. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the extent to which first-time offenders remain eligible for early release on foot of good behaviour or otherwise; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7155/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that all prisoners who are sentenced to a term of imprisonment, with the exception of prisoners without a determined sentence, for example, life sentence prisoners, qualify for one quarter remission on the basis of good behaviour.

In addition, prisoners who have engaged in authorised structured activity may apply to receive enhanced remission of greater than one quarter but not exceeding one third of their sentence.

In order for a prisoner to be granted enhanced remission, the Minister for Justice must be satisfied that the prisoner is less likely to re-offend and is better able to re-integrate into the community.

The principles governing the awarding of enhanced remission are contained under Rule 59 of the Prison Rules 2007 to 2014 (S.I. No. 252 of 2007 and S.I. No. 385 of 2014).

For all applications, the following factors are considered -

- the manner and extent to which the prisoner has engaged constructively in authorised structured activity;

- the manner and extent to which the prisoner has taken steps to address his or her offending behaviour;

- the nature and gravity of the offence to which the sentence of imprisonment being served by the prisoner relates;

- the sentence of imprisonment concerned and any recommendations of the court that imposed that sentence in relation thereto;

- the period of the sentence served by the prisoner;

- the potential threat to the safety and security of members of the public (including the victim of the offence to which the sentence of imprisonment being served by the prisoner relates) should the prisoner be released from prison;

- any offence of which the prisoner was convicted before being convicted of the offence to which the sentence of imprisonment being served by him or relates;

- the conduct of the prisoner while in custody or during a period of temporary release;

- any report of, or recommendation made by the Governor of the prison, an Garda Síochána, any probation officer or any other person whom the Minister considers would be of assistance in making a decision on an application.