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New law will aim to have a 'minimum' of people jailed over fines

The chairman of the Justice Committee says the law will ensure that less people are jailed for non-payment of fines.

THE JUSTICE MINISTER will appear before an Oireachtas Committee tomorrow to discuss a law that will cut down on the number of people being jailed for non-payment of fines.

Figures from 2012 show that 8,304 were sent to prison for non-payments of fines. Over 85 per cent of those people return to jail within four years.

The Irish Penal Reform Trust has called for the Fines (Payment and Recovery) Bill 2013 to be enacted, saying that it needed to provide for fines to be paid in instalments.

That is something Oireachtas Justice Committee Chairman David Stanton says has been taken on board.

“The aim of the Bill is to ensure that fines imposed by the Courts are collected and to reduce to a minimum the number of people sent to prison each year from non-payment of fines.

“Among its provisions are: an option to pay a fine by instalments over 12 months; that the court imposing any such fine shall take into account the person’s financial circumstances; and to provide for the making of community service orders or the commitment to imprisonment of persons in certain circumstances where such fines imposed on them are not paid.”

The meeting will start in Committee Room 2 at 10am tomorrow and can be followed by clicking here.

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