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Management of sex offenders

21st August 2010

Following the media furore surrounding the scheduled release of a sex offender from prison, journalists turn their attention the management of sex offenders both before and after release.

Writing in The Irish Times, Crime Correspondent Conor Lally examines the treatment available in prison, and the workings of the Sex Offenders Act 2001. He also describes the workings of agencies such as the Garda Sex Offenders Management and Intelligence Unit.

Fiona Neary, director of Rape Crisis Network Ireland, is quoted in the article as saying that "although the public concern around [the prisoner's] release is understandable, driving such high-risk offenders out of areas or into homelessness makes it much more difficult for the Garda to monitor them. Pre-release risk assessment and post-release supervision need to become sentencing norms for such offenders."

In the article Lally also abolishes certain myths surrounding the release of the high profile sex offender, such as that he was released 'early'.

In the Irish Independent, Shane Phelan and Dearbhail McDonald report that the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) has called for risk assessment programmes to be incorporated in sentencing, giving authorities the option of further detaining an offender who refuses treatment. "The judiciary should build in a programme of risk assessment into sentences where offenders can be reviewed as to risk on an interim basis," RCNI executive director Fiona Neary told the Irish Independent.

A spokesperson for Justice Minister Dermot Ahern states: "It has to be pointed out that rehabilitation does not work unless the offender is motivated to engage in the process."

The article also focuses on the impact that the Government's recruitment ban is having on the Probation Service.

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