The Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr. Charlie Flanagan, T.D. today published the Annual Report of the Parole Board for 2016.

In publishing the report, the Minister said "I would like to thank the Chairman, Mr John Costello and the members of the Board for their report. The Parole Board plays a vital role which is much valued and appreciated. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the work of the Board in helping to encourage all eligible prisoners to participate in the parole process." 

The Board's principal function is to advise the Minister on the administration of long term prison sentences,  in respect of prisoners who are serving sentences greater than seven years. The Board, by way of recommendation to the Minister, advises on 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. All recommendations are considered in full when making the final decision on sentence management.

As highlighted in their report, the total caseload of the Board in 2016 was 344 - a combination of new cases and cases at second or subsequent review stage. The Board report that they reviewed 107 cases in 2016, the highest number since the establishment of the Board, with 98 recommendations made to the Minister. The Minister accepted the recommendations in 95 cases either in full or in part. 

During 2016, the Board continued with its programme of presentations to prisoners throughout the remaining prisons. It is also proposed to make these presentations on an ongoing basis. 

The report is available on the Department's website