Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Browne says new legislation put forward by his party will make the parole system fit for purpose and help protect community’s right across Ireland.
The Parole Bill 2016 was debated in the Dáil on Wednesday and secured cross party support, demonstrating Fianna Fáil’s constructive approach in the 32nd Dáil.
Deputy Browne said, “Fianna Fáil is attempting to address a significant failing in the criminal justice system with this Bill. Currently the Parole Board only has the ability to offer advice to the Minister regarding parole, and the Minister can choose to ignore this advice. This means that the ability to grant parole in effect solely lies with the Minister of the day.
“I believe we need to de-politicise the parole system. Our Bill will place the Parole Board on a statutory footing if enacted. It will provide carefully for the membership of the board, it will set out the criteria that can be used for granting parole as well as the offences not covered. Importantly, it also sets out the protections that will be afforded to the local community if a decision is made to permit a prisoner return early to his or her community.
“I welcome the fact that we have received cross-party support for our Bill. It will make the parole system far more clear and transparent. People will be able to see why some offenders were given parole and the terms set. Importantly it will ensure that the people who grant parole will have to set out their reasoning for doing so which helps increases accountability,” said Deputy Browne.