Thursday, 11 July 2019
Parole Bill 2016: Committee and Remaining Stages
I move amendment No. 5:
In page 29, lines 28 and 29. to delete all words from and including "and" in line 28 down to and including line 29.
The amendment seeks to delete the provision that states that where an applicant has been unsuccessful and the Parole Board has written to the Irish Prison Service advising it on how the applicant's sentence could be better managed to produce a successful application for parole, the recommendations are explicitly non-binding. There is no point in the Parole Board making such recommendations if the Prison Service is given an obvious and clear excuse, explicit in the Bill, to ignore the recommendations. If we want the system to support rehabilitation and fairness and to promote access to parole, recommendations of this kind must not be so clearly weakened by a line in the Bill which states, in black and white, that they shall not be binding.
I hope the Minister of State will consider the removal of the provision. I chose not to insert the phrase "should be binding", giving the resources and the ability of the Prison Service to ensure that a person will be able to meet all the recommendations. Instead, I seek to remove the line that includes the phrase "shall not be binding" in order that it will give some more direction and need for the Prison Service to act on some of the recommendations. As drafted, the Bill will undermine what we are trying to achieve.