A new report from the Quaker Council of European Affairs has collated information on the rehabilitative prison practices in Council of Europe member states. The report found that the majority of member states are increasing their use of imprisonment by 10% over the last ten years.
The report emphasizes that rehabilitation should begin when a person is incarcerated. Social reintegration programmes should be designed to fully meet prisoners educational, cultural and health needs while being delivered in a setting which respects dignity and human rights.
Prison can be used as an effective tool to equip offenders with the necessary social and educational resources which can help them to desist from crime when they are released. It is emphasized:
"social reintegration is affected by how successfully programmes which were started in prison can be accessed, continued, practiced, or completed in the community."
The report includes information from approximately 16-20 countries in the CoE including Ireland and found the following:
- 35% of prisoners are homeless on release from prison.
- Between a fifth and two fifths of all prisoners in CoE states are less qualified than the average secondary school leaver .
- 70% of Irish prisoners are unemployed prior to conviction.
- Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Portugal, Romania and the Russian Federation do not allow prisoners to vote at all.
- 39% of Irish prisoners take up some form of education while serving their sentence. The highest reported was Germany with 60% of prisoners engaging with some form of education.
- Ireland is the only country where work in prison is totally unpaid.