Justice Minister To Reform Rehabilitation Periods

The Justice Minister, Naomi Long, has announced her intention to bring forward legislation to reform rehabilitation periods in Northern Ireland, following the conclusion of a public consultation.

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

Naomi Long said: "The vast majority of respondents to the consultation – 97% - were in favour of a review of rehabilitation periods for convictions in Northern Ireland.

"By reducing the length of time that it will take for some convictions to become spent, and allowing more sentences to be capable of becoming spent; more people who want to contribute to society, having turned their backs on crime, will be able to do so.

"Evidence shows that former offenders who are able to get back into the world of work are less likely to reoffend, thereby ensuring there are fewer victims of crime, making our communities safer and reducing the number of repeat offenders within the justice system.
News Image
"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."

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.

Naomi Long continued: "The changes that I intend to bring forward are long overdue. They will reset the periods for sentences to be spent and actively support rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration back into communities.

"However, public protection measures will not be reduced as existing measures relating to safeguards for sensitive employments, such as working with children, young people and vulnerable adults will remain unchanged."

The Justice Minister concluded: "I have shared my proposals for legislative reform for consideration by the Committee for Justice and I look forward to taking receipt of their comments on my proposed way forward in due course."

A report on the summary of responses to the consultation and way forward has been published at the publication section of this website.

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

28 January 2005
Belfast put forward as top-class conference venue
Belfast’s reputation as a unique, top-quality conference destination was highlighted this week when the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau (BVCB) promoted the city to key conference industry professionals in London.
05 March 2020
Four Arrests In Kevin Lunney Murder Probe
Four people have been arrested as part of a cross-border probe into the abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney. The Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director was brutally beaten and left for dead at the side of a road in Co Cavan last September.
17 May 2022
Fresh Appeal For Information On Ongoing Institutional Abuse Investigation
The PSNI has issued a fresh appeal for information in an ongoing investigation into allegations of physical and sexual abuse involving Mother and Baby Institutions, Work Houses and Magdalene Laundries, first launched on 6th October 2021.
16 May 2022
Agricultural Shows Sector Resilience Review Announced
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced an independent external resilience review of NI Agricultural Shows Sector in Northern Ireland, to be led by Mr Aled Rhys Jones.
10 May 2022
Michael Long Named New Lord Mayor Of Belfast
Lisnasharragh Alliance councillor Michael Long has been installed as the new Lord Mayor of Belfast. Mr Long takes over the chain of office from Kate Nicholl who is leaving the office of Lord Mayor early, having been elected to the Local Assembly at the weekend.