Extending the Reach of the State into the Post-sentence period: section 26 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007
Document Type Article
(2008) 15(1) Dublin University Law Journal.
The Criminal Justice Act 2007 heralded a plethora of changes to Irish criminal law and procedure. The law on sentencing was also affected by its provisions. The focus of this article is on section 26 of that Act which introduces a general power on a court to make an order while passing sentence which will take effect on the expiration of a sentence of imprisonment. Under section 26 a court can impose two such orders, the “monitoring” order and the “protection of persons” order. The author assesses the background to the introduction of these dispositions and the potential application and the implications of their operation. Comparisons with similar provisions already in use in Ireland and also in England and Wales are drawn and insights from theoretical literature on the concept of “punishment” are utilised to assess the nature of these new developments for Irish sentencing practice. The author argues that section 26 orders represent a further example of a growing phenomenon in Irish criminal justice; that of increasing reliance on dispositions taking effect after the expiration of a “primary” sentence. Finally, the author points to some potential policy and practical difficulties with the operation of the orders.