Remission of prison sentences in Ireland is a matter of intense scrutiny and consideration this week, given the imminent release of Larry Murphy who had been convicted of violent rape and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, one year of which was suspended. In this short post I want to just highlight the basis for statutory remission of this kind in Ireland.
Remission of sentences can be traced back to s.38(1) of the Rules for the Government of Prisons 1947, which provides:
A convicted prisoner sentenced to imprisonment, whether by one sentence or cumulative sentences, for a period exceeding one calendar month, shall be eligible, by industry and good conduct, to earn a remission of a portion of his imprisonment, not exceeding one-fourth of the whole sentence, provided that the remission so granted does not result in the prisoner being discharged before he has served one month.
The 1947 Rules have now been revoked and replaced by the Prison Rules 2007 (S.I. No. 252 of 2007), which provide that a prisoner who was entitled to remission under the 1947 rules would be entitled to similar remission under the new rules (Rule 121(1), 2007). In the case of O’Brien v Governor of Limerick Prison  2 I.L.R.M. 349 it was held that where some of a sentence has been suspended, the remission period is calculated as per the period of time to be served. Continue reading “Remission of Sentences in Ireland”