Serial home burglars to get longer prison time
Serial home burglars will face longer jail terms and may be refused bail, under new laws aimed at curbing home break-ins.
The planned laws aimed at "prolific" offenders will result in District Court judges applying mandatory consecutive sentences for multiple offences committed within a 12-month window.
Judges will also be allowed to refuse bail to offenders who have a previous conviction for burglary coupled with two or more pending charges.
It comes amid Government concerns that the criminal justice system is not taking full account of the seriousness of home burglaries. The dedicated home burglary law, which Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald says is designed to "keep repeat burglars off the streets", has been approved by Government and is set to be passed later this year.
Publication of the Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill 2015 comes in the wake of a series of high-profile home burglaries in which the elderly were targeted, particularly in under-policed rural areas.
Ms Fitzgerald said the bill was targeted at those repeat burglars who had previous convictions and who were charged with multiple offences of residential burglary.
Garda figures indicate that 75pc of burglaries are committed by 25pc of burglars.
Reoffending rates are almost 80pc for people imprisoned for burglary and related offences, which means that many burglars are released from prison only to commit new offences.