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Experts propose weekend jail sentences

CRIMINALS could get jail sentences that last just two days under proposals by the Penal Policy Review Group.

The expert group proposed that weekend sentencing in open prison be imposed for certain offenders to allow them maintain their employment, education and family links.

The weekend sentences could be handed down where the circumstances of the offence required some period of custody to be handed down, without the negative impact of being locked up round the clock.

The Review Group acknowledged that weekend sentencing would involve an additional administrative burden and would also raise security issues.

Study Meanwhile, it ruled out an extension of minimum sentencing for serious crimes among 43 recommendations following a two-year study which was published yesterday.

Minimum sentences are fixed for drug dealing and some firearms offences.

The Review Group said it did not think this measure should be extended and called for a fresh look to determine if this type of sentencing fulfilled the objective of reducing crime.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she was in favour of maintaining the mandatory life sentence for murder.

Ms Fitzgerald said she had asked her officials to prepare proposals and options on reform of sentencing policy and would bring those proposals to Government shortly.