Sentencing Framework Review in Northern Ireland

In March 2005 the NIO held a consultation to Review the Sentencing Framework in Northern Ireland and sought views on a number of specific issues relating to sentences and sentencing, including post release supervision, electronic monitoring and the management of dangerous offenders.

Responses to the consultation paper indicated strong support for the introduction of indeterminate and extended custodial sentences in Northern Ireland. It was believed that this would address the existing anomaly that dangerous individuals could be automatically released, unsupervised, halfway through a determinate sentence, irrespective of whether or not they posed a significant risk of serious harm to the public. The introduction of compulsory post release supervision of offenders was also endorsed to enhance public protection and assist in the rehabilitation of offenders.

Ministers concluded that sentences should be revised and enhanced and that legislation should be brought forward to provide for the introduction of indeterminate and extended sentences for dangerous sexual and violent offenders allowing individuals posing a risk of serious harm to be detained indefinitely or to the end of their extended sentence.

In 2008, the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 introduced public protection sentences and replaced the LSRC with the Parole Commissioner for Northern Ireland.