Senator Lynn Ruane Calls for Sweeping Spent Convictions Law reform
November 10th 2020
Senator Lynn Ruane has made and published a wide-ranging submission to the Department of Justice’s public consultation on the Review of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016.
The 2016 Act has failed to support the rehabilitation of former offenders to return to employment, education and reintegrate into society. Senator Ruane welcomes the opening of the department’s review on foot of her 2018 Criminal Justice (Rehabilitative Periods) Bill and the related commitment in the 2020 Programme for Government.
In her submission, Senator Ruane made the following recommendations for policy and law reform:
- Prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a conviction that has become spent in our equality and employment laws.
- The establishment of a legal route to apply to have a conviction declared spent, through the courts or an independent assessment board.
- Allowing longer sentences to become eligible to become spent with shorter waiting times, especially for young adults.
- The removal of the limit on the number of an individual’s convictions that can become spent.
- A complete overhaul of Garda vetting legislation to ensure that only relevant convictions are disclosed.
Senator Ruane also made a number of important ancillary recommendations and proposals for further reform for the Department to consider.
The full submission is available to view here.