BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 11:20 GMT
Jail remission laws are outlined
Hands through a cell
Laws ending 50% remission are outlined
New laws to end 50% remission for all prisoners in Northern Ireland have been outlined by the government.

The legislation, due to be in force by next summer, will also mean tougher sentences for the most serious crimes.

The government has been pressed to end 50% remission since the murder of Strabane pensioner Attracta Harron almost four years ago.

Her killer had been released from prison just weeks earlier after serving half of a seven-year sentence for rape.

Security Minister Paul Goggins said that under the new public protection sentences, dangerous violent and sexual offenders who posed the greatest risk "would spend longer in prison and would only be released when it was considered safe".

"The judge will decide the minimum term to be served; the new independent Parole Commissioners will decide when the time is right for the offender to return to the community," he said on Thursday.

"All offenders who have committed crimes serious enough to merit prison will serve a set period of time in custody followed by close supervision in the community under strict conditions.

"Both parts of the sentence will be served in full without remission and if the offender breaches the community conditions he can be sent back to prison."

Under the new legislation, electronic tagging will be introduced for some offenders and judges will also be able to impose curfews.

The draft Criminal Justice Order also contains proposals for an increase in the penalty for carrying knives, a tightening of the laws on bad driving and new powers to deal with alcohol-related disorder.

Remission for prisoners will end
05 Dec 06 |  Northern Ireland

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific