Criminal Justice (Mutual Recognition of Probation Judgments and Decisions) Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages

Sections 1 to 32, inclusive, agreed to.
Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I acknowledge the support of Senators since Second Stage. This is a complex Bill, as they will have noted, but it has a straightforward purpose, namely, to allow a person who has been placed under the supervision of the probation service in one EU member state but who lives in another to return home and undergo his or her further supervision here, or there, depending on the circumstances, provided the person's consent is forthcoming. I emphasise that a person cannot be transferred from one country to another without his or her consent as it would discourage compliance and rehabilitation, which would have the effect of undermining the proposal. The proposals in the Bill will increase the chances of social reintegration of offenders by ensuring that the probation measures imposed on a person can be followed up on and he or she can be supervised in the country in which he or she resides. This will allow the offender to: maintain ties with family and community; in some circumstances, to continue in employment or education; and to relate to the support services in his or her home country, all of which are important in the context of rehabilitation and reintegration.

Successful reintegration reduces the risk of reoffending, which improves the protections for both victims and society. The Bill better protects society by improving the compliance framework for probation conditions and reduces unnecessary detention of non-resident offenders by ensuring the enforcement of non-custodial sentences in the person's home state. This Bill, when enacted, will not affect too many people, but for the small number it will affect, it will have a considerable impact on their lives and for that reason, it is important legislation. I thank Members for ensuring its concluding Stages were taken this afternoon before our summer recess.

I thank the Minister for bringing forward this legislation and the officials in his Department for the work they did on it. It is important that we recognise judgments from other countries and that the same recognition is given to Irish judgments elsewhere in order to ensure the decisions of the courts are implemented regardless of the country in which someone is residing. It is an important step, particularly from an Irish point of view, given the number of people living here who have come from abroad. They may wish to travel home and we need to make sure penalties imposed by the Probation Service are followed through in full. I thank the Minister and the Department for bringing forward this legislation, and I hope it is passed into law as soon as possible.

I again welcome this Bill, and I am happy to see it completed fairly speedily today. It is very important legislation. While it only affects a small number of people, it is important that we support these people and their families, and I thank the Minister for bringing the Bill to the House today.

I echo the words of thanks to the Minister. We all acknowledge that this is significant and complex legislation, and the uniform support of the House has been worthwhile, productive, and fruitful in ensuring it passes today. I commend the Minister and colleagues on that. Go raibh maith agat.

Question put and agreed to.