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Courts Service

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 24 May 2022

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Questions (536)

Paul Donnelly

Question:

536. Deputy Paul Donnelly asked the Minister for Justice the amount received by the courts through contributions to the court poor box to date in 2022; and the status of the Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill to replace the Probation of Offenders Act 1907. [25853/22]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Courts Service that from the period 1 January 2022 to 30 April 2022 inclusive, a total of €487,490.72 was received by the Courts through contributions to the Court Poor-Box.

The Deputy may wish to note that an in-depth analysis of the Poor-Box is completed annually (listed by both court office and by receiving charity) and this information is published on the website of the Courts Service.

Non-custodial penalties, particularly supervised community sanctions, play a significant and important role in addressing criminality, reducing reoffending and providing a degree of protection to the public. This is supported by Central Statistics Office figures on recidivism.

As part of the work to ensure a coherent approach to enhancing and sustaining a more just and safe society, Government committed to reviewing policy options for prison and penal reform. The report of the cross-sectoral group tasked with undertaking this review is expected to be published shortly. Among the issues the group will make recommendations on is the appropriate use of non-custodial sanctions and the role they can play in addressing criminality, reducing reoffending and providing protection to the public while holding the individual accountable.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill 2014 seeks to update the Probation of Offenders Act 1907. The aim of the Bill is to provide a modern statement of the law governing community sanctions, and the role of the Probation Service in the criminal justice system. It will facilitate the effective and efficient use of community sanctions by the courts, and will ensure that the courts have a wide range of appropriate options for dealing with people who have committed minor offences.

The legislation also takes account of the interests of victims of crime by making it a statutory requirement for the courts to have regard to the interests of victims when making decisions about community sanctions.

Justice Plan for 2022 commits to the policy review of the General Scheme of the Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill 2014 being completed in the second quarter of this year.

Once this review is complete, it is envisaged that it will be published and a revised General Scheme agreed in the third quarter of this year with the aim of publishing the Bill in the final quarter of 2022.

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