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Question

143. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to increase standard remission from 25% to 33% and to introduce enhanced remission of up to 50%. [12659/16]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): In addition to the standard rate of remission of one-quarter of sentence, the Prison Rules provide for the possibility of enhanced remission of up to one-third of sentence. This enhanced remission must be earned and applies where a prisoner engages in authorised structured activity intended to increase the likelihood that, when released from prison, he is less likely to re-offend and is better able to re-integrate into the community.
In September 2014, I published the Report of the Penal Policy Review Group which contains 43 recommendations including preparing proposals on the potential for increased use of earned remission. I stated then that I have no plans to increase the standard rate of remission beyond one-quarter of sentence. Nonetheless, I obtained the agreement, in principle, of Government to proceed immediately with a number of key recommendations of the Report and I have asked my officials to examine further the potential for increased use of earned remission as recommended in the Report.
I should add more generally that I have established an implementation group to oversee implementation of the recommendations in the Report and to report back to me on a regular basis. The group is chaired by Dr. Mary Rogan, who was also a member of the Review Group. A report from this implementation group is expected shortly, which I intend to publish.