Thursday, 11 July 2019
Parole Bill 2016: Committee and Remaining Stages
I want to be associated with everything Senator Bacik has said. Notwithstanding the content of the amendment, it is extremely important for us that when we think about people who work in penal reform, such as the Irish Penal Reform Trust, it is not an offender versus a victim or introducing offending legislation. People who look to reform the penal system, the parole system and the justice system do so with the same ultimate goal of reducing crime. When people work with offenders in terms of applying human rights principles and rehabilitative principles to the prison system it is with the ultimate goal that when the person is reintegrated into society and let out that there are no more victims. This is not to ignore the current victims of a particular crime. The Irish Penal Reform Trust has stated every time it speaks about offenders that it also speaks about the need for victim support and it is not that one cancels out the other. We need to be very clear that working with offenders in penal reform is looking to reduce crime, recidivism and the number of victims. It is not to disregard all that victims have gone through and do go through or to ignore victims' rights in any shape or form.