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Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald at the launch of the report today Leah Farrell/Photocall
Irish Prisons

Parole review shows drugs and alcohol a factor in majority of crimes

It was also found that child abuse was a factor in a significant number of cases

A NEW REPORT looking at offenders has found drugs and alcohol to be a feature in more than two thirds of cases.

It was found that substance and alcohol misuse attributed to 72% of all crimes committed. This came from either addiction or offenders being under the influence at the time of committing the crime, the Parole Board Annual Report for 2013 found.

In the report it was also found that childhood abuse was cited as a factor by almost half (47%) of paroled offenders looked at.

The average age of offenders looked at was 29.8 years. The overall age range went from minors to mind 50s.

It was also mentioned in the report that the Parole Board had received a large number of letters from the families of victims.

The report described how:

If the case involves a murder, many family members are still experiencing severe trauma and mental health problems many years after the death of their loved one.

In the past 40 years there have been significant increases in the length of time that prisoners have had to spend in prison before receiving parole. The average stay has increased from seven and a half years in the 1970s to 18 years currently.

Speaking at the launch today, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald stated her intentions for the reform of the prison system.

I am committed to fostering a debate on key issues on future penal policy as we progress down this road of reform. There are big questions which deserve consideration such as: how do we deliver on the societal need for punishment to be served, while at the same time seeking to reduce crime, through reducing reoffending and rates of recidivism.

Read: From white-collar criminals to murderers: Rare glimpse inside women’s prison

Also: Closure of St Patrick’s Institution is ‘unfinished’ as 8 boys remain locked up

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