Thursday, 11 July 2019
Parole Bill 2016: Committee and Remaining Stages
One could argue that the system, the parole system, works as the Senator indicated. The perpetrator is not free and has served 40 years. I want to put that on the record in case anyone thinks that they were released earlier. I am sure the Senator will acknowledge that.
I thank Senator Bacik for pointing out all the careful and expert consideration that has gone into developing the Bill. The placing of the parole board on a statutory footing has been widely recommended, including by the Law Reform Commission.
Senator Ruane made a very good point about keeping the parole board as non-adversarial as possible. The broad support for the Bill shows we are all trying to achieve the same thing, namely, to give the prisoners with the longest sentences some incentive to rehabilitate and work towards a day when they can be released safely to serve the rest of their sentence in the community. That is important. Senator Mullen spoke of an eye for an eye, it was kind of Old Testament stuff but the New Testament talks a lot about mercy and forgiveness, which is also important. One Senator did mention mercy and forgiveness last week.