Since 1991, Dublin's Bridge Project has been working with offenders in an attempt to reduce reoffending and to successfully reintegrate young adults into their communities. Bridge Project's Gerry Raftery, speaking to Cormac O'Keeffe of the Irish Examiner, acknowledged the overlap between their aims and those of An Garda Siochána, reporting that:
"We try and lower that risk, both the frequency and gravity of crime. Our primary concern is public safety. The best way to do that is to change the thinking and behaviour of offenders..."
Raftery highlights the importance of education, skills training and the huge benefit of having a job, in an offenders successful navigation away from crime.
The Bridge Project is an intensive supervision scheme aimed at keeping offenders out of prison. The scheme deals with young adult offenders, and engages these offenders in demanding community-based work; it diverts them from custodial sentences and seeks to both reduce the chances of further offending, and to reintegrate them into their communities.
Those referred to the scheme are dealt with through intensive worker-client partnerships, with group work and an introduction to the various support services which may be relevant to their needs. The Bridge Project offers an holistic approach to offender management and reintegration. The person-centric approach aims to ‘create a safe and respectful environment’ and address the complex needs faced by many offenders.