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An examination of parole in Ireland: balancing justice and risk
University College Cork
This thesis presents the history of the parole process with particular emphasis on the operation of the Irish Parole Board since its establishment in December 2001, up until June 2019. The concept of parole and the function of the Parole Board is explored. Particular attention is paid to highlighting the challenges associated with the Parole Board’s efforts to strike an appropriate balance, in its decision making, between the administration of justice and considerations of risk, and between considerations of public protection and safety and the nature and the gravity of the offence committed. The tensions that emerge when attempting to reconcile the competing rights and responsibilities of the various stakeholders in the decision-making process are identified and examined. The legal analysis undertaken in this thesis is chiefly doctrinal, with a detailed examination of constitutional provisions, relevant case law and various reports and publications. The thesis also analyses policy, and in so doing, goes beyond enacted legislation and official publications, such as the Annual Reports of the Parole Board. Parole is an area of law that has not received anything approaching adequate consideration in Ireland and does not merit any mention in many Irish textbooks covering criminal law. The existence of only scant research in relation to the Parole Board revealed a clear need for in-depth research in this area, something that this work attempts to rectify. The Irish Parole Board currently operates on a non-statutory basis, in an administrative, advisory capacity only and what is known as “parole” in Ireland has no clear legal meaning. The challenges posed by the current legal status of the Parole Board results in a parole process which can, at times, be somewhat opaque and influenced by both public opinion and political reality and that is subject to the shifting nature of public/political debate within Irish society. This thesis reviews proposed reforms in this area, including those contained in the Parole Bill. It recommends that the Parole Board be established on a statutory basis and for its decisions to be determinative as opposed to advisory. It is suggested that a statutory foundation would provide greater clarity around criteria for parole and furnish a more transparent framework for the operation of the Board, thus providing clear guidance in the decision-making process.
Parole , UN , Strategic research
McCarthy, S. 2019. An examination of parole in Ireland: balancing justice and risk. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.