IPRT calls for stronger spent convictions bill
The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) has said the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Amendment Bill 2012 is “not strong enough” to support the rehabilitation of reformed offenders as the bill returns to Dáil Éireann today.
The bill will go before TDs today at the report and final stage.
The IPRT said some proposed amendments would benefit people with one conviction but the legislation remains too limited in its scope.
It criticised the fact the legislation applies only to sentences of less than 12 months, while convictions of up to 30 months can become spent in Northern Ireland.
It also said one proposed amendment suggests that where a person has two or more convictions, no convictions at all can ever become spent, unless they are specific motoring and public order offences.
The prison reform group said the changes would “benefit people with multiple speeding convictions, an offence which presents immediate and serious life danger to others – but will not benefit someone who has two shoplifting convictions, no matter how long ago those crimes were committed or under what personal circumstances”.
The IPRT also criticised the blanket 7-year rehabilitation period as it “ignores fundamental human rights principles of relevance, necessity and proportionality”.