New minimum tariff for those sentenced to life imprisonment under reform

Criminals convicted of the most serious crimes, including murder, could face a minimum of 30 years in prison without parole under reforms proposed by the Justice Department.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said judges would be empowered to set minimum fees between 15 and 30 years before prisoners are allowed to go before parole boards. .

The Cabinet on Wednesday approved a set of recommendations on sentencing submitted following a review of punishment and prison policies.

The government also has plans to introduce an alternative to prison for very minor crimes.

The Review of Policy Options for Prison and Penal Law Reform includes 21 actions and identifies six actions aimed at reducing recidivism and avoiding overcrowding in prisons.

One of the main recommendations is to reduce the number of short prison sentences, especially those of less than three months, and instead expand the range of community services and prison sentences.

The review also recommended introducing a new minimum fee for offenders serving life imprisonment.

Speaking in Dublin after the ministerial meeting, Ms McEntee said she believed judges should have the option of setting higher minimum tariffs for the most “heinous” crimes.

Under current law, prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment are eligible for parole if they serve at least 12 years of their sentence.

“What I am proposing here, and which I will bring into law in January, is that judges in particularly heinous cases set minimum fees 15, 20, 30 years ago that a person could appear before a parole board. When serious crimes are committed, we need to give them the punishment they deserve,” McEntee said.

“The policy is very much about striking the right balance by looking at the types of crimes, the victims involved and how people are rehabilitated because ultimately prisons are Because it is not only about punishing people, but also about trying to reform them.

“What I am proposing here is to give the judiciary flexibility. We are not setting a time frame here. .

“For particularly heinous crimes involving victims, we acknowledge the seriousness of the crime and at the same time make sure that even when a person is imprisoned, various kinds of reform programs are available.

“We are not proposing life imprisonment, where a person never has the option of escaping.”

Ms McEntee said alternatives to imprisonment could be considered if criminals are not a threat or pose a danger to society.

“Perhaps two hours of community service is more effective than three months in prison. okay,” she added.

“They may have maintained the necessary community connections, but they are still clearly being punished.

“It’s about looking at the individual factors in the incident. Whether prison is the best option, not just for the perpetrator, but for the community as a whole, and what can be done to keep people out of a life of crime.” That’s it.

“When you look at a lot of behavior, how you can develop certain types of programs, look at marginalized communities, look at offended women, look at young people in particular, and look at them. can be adjusted to suit the needs of people.

“The bottom line of our mind is that this keeps everyone safe. It is acknowledgment that it can lead to worse paths of crime.

“We developed these programs, worked very closely with probation services, and worked with the many community groups that are already doing great work in this area to help offenders and their families as well as health professionals. is to cooperate with

“You’re more likely to turn that person’s life around, but instead, you can keep your community safer by considering these other options.” New minimum tariff for those sentenced to life imprisonment under reform

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