Justice Minister launches public consultation on reform of rehabilitation periods

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Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Justice Minister Naomi Long has launched a public consultation on ‘Rehabilitation of Offenders – a consultation on proposals to reform rehabilitation periods in Northern Ireland’.


Justice Minister launches public consultation on reform of rehabilitation periods - Newry Times news


The consultation presents proposals to reform rehabilitation periods in Northern Ireland to reflect changes in sentencing practices and developments in other jurisdictions.



Naomi Long said, “It is essential that we have a criminal justice system which punishes offenders appropriately and fairly, protects the public and supports victims. 

“But we also need a system that can reform offenders effectively so that they do not go on to commit further crimes.

“Much progress has been made on rehabilitation and release planning in each of our prisons in recent years and it is important that we build on this.


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“By setting appropriate periods for sentences to be spent we actively support the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders back into our community.

“This is essential if we are to reduce reoffending and ensure there are fewer victims of crime, making our communities safer and reducing the number of repeat offenders circulating within the justice system,” she added.



Rehabilitation periods in Northern Ireland have remained essentially unchanged since they were first introduced in 1978 and since then changes in sentencing practice have meant that longer sentences are now being imposed than when rehabilitation periods were first established.

Taking consideration of developments in neighbouring jurisdictions – both already implemented and under consideration – the consultation seeks views on proposals to reduce the length of time that it will take for some convictions to become spent; and to allow more sentences to be included in the rehabilitation of offenders scheme in Northern Ireland.

The consultation will run for eight weeks from Friday 8 January 2021 to Friday 5 March 2021.

For further information visit the DoJ website.



Responses can be submitted via Citizenspace.


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