Civil Service Awards showcase staff excellence & innovation in Justice & Equality sector
On Thursday 3rd December, 2015, projects of the Irish Civil Service were acknowledged in the ‘Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards’ which took place in Dublin Castle. Up to thirty two projects were shortlisted. Of particular interest were two nominations in the ‘Justice and Equality Sector’ which were to do with prison and probation. Shortlisted in the category of ‘excellence in innovation’ was the project for enhancing ex-prisoner resettlement into communities – the Community Return Programme. The ICT Recycling project provided by the Irish Prison Service to Government Departments was shortlisted in the category of ‘excellence in skills development’.
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., commenting on the awards said that “the projects nominated reflect the recent major successes in the justice and equality area, ranging from landmark and historic initiatives in social policy and international cooperation to enhanced delivery of services through inter-agency cooperation and innovation.”
Enhancing ex-prisoner resettlement into communities – the Community Return Programme – has provided for the resettlement and re-integration of people after custody through an interagency sharing of data and practices. Under the scheme, temporary release is offered to offenders who have been assessed by the Irish Prison Service in return for supervised Community Service. The Probation Service assesses the suitability and motivation of individuals to complete the community work. The scheme applies to those who are serving a sentence of more than one and less than eight years.
The ‘ICT Recycling Project’ was submitted by the Irish Prison Service. The focus of this project is on reducing the burden on Government Departments of disposing of computer hardware. Those involved in the provision of this service have benefited from up skilling. The project currently saves Government Departments in excess of €150,000 annually.The Acting Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality, Noel Waters, has commended the different projects for their innovative contributions.