The Parole Board is an independent statutory body that considers applications for parole from prisoners serving long-term sentences.
The Parole Board was established by the Minister for Justice & Equality on an administrative basis in April 2001. Its principal function was to advise the Minister for Justice & Equality in relation to the administration of long-term prison sentences.
The New Parole Act 2019 commenced in 2021 has placed a Parole Board on a statutory footing. A new Parole Board will consist of Chairperson and 12 members experienced in dealing with victims and prisoners and will be independent in their decision from the Minister of Justice.
The Interim Parole Board reviews the cases of prisoners sentenced to determinate sentences of eight years or more as well as prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment after 12 years of that sentence has been served. Prisoners serving sentences for certain offences, such as the murder of a member of a Garda Síochána or the Prison Service in the course of their duty, are excluded from the process.
The Board, which acts independently from the Minister of Justice, reviews the prisoner’s progress to date, the degree to which the prisoner has engaged with the various therapeutic services and how best to proceed with the future administration of the sentence.
In making their decision, the Parole Board considers a number of factors which include:
- Would release constitute a threat to the community?
- Whether it is reasonable to grant early/temporary release in view of the nature and circumstances of the offence committed?
- Does the offender warrant release having regard to behaviour in custody?
- Whether there are any compelling compassionate grounds which merit special consideration?
- Whether the offender has engaged constructively with the prison- based therapeutic services to combat his/her offending behaviour?
The experience of recent years is that prisoners would normally be reviewed on a number of occasions over a number of years before any substantial concessions would be recommended.
The Parole Act 2019 provides for statutory rights for victims in the parole process.
All victims of crime who have registered with the Victim Liaison Officer Service (VLO) will be contacted and asked for permission for their contact details to be passed on to the Parole Board when a prisoner applies for parole and asked whether they want to write a submission to the Board. Victims may also register directly with the Board.
You can make submissions to the Board to express your views regarding the release of a prisoner, and may receive legal assistance to do this. You can decide whether you wish to make a submission in writing, in person, or through a legal representative. You may be accompanied by your legal representative to a meeting with the Board. Any submission you make will be added to the prisoner’s file and will be considered by the Board.
In the case of prisoners serving a life sentence, families can also express their views regarding restrictions on where a lifer can resign after release.
It is important to know that any submission you make will be added to the prisoner’s file and will be available to the prisoner.
To find out when a prisoner is eligible for parole, you should contact:
Irish Prison Service, Victim Liaison Officer, Irish Prison Service Headquarters, IDA Business Park, Ballinalee Road, Longford
Tel: 043 35158
Fax: 043 35107
Submission should be sent to:
The Parole Board, 2nd Floor, 6/7 Hanover Street, Dublin 2
Phone+353 1 4748767/ 4748770
Fax+353 1 4748713