The Probation Service Annual Report for 2016 has been published. Following on from the recommendation of the Strategic Review of Penal Policy (2014), in 2016 the Probation Service introduced on a pilot basis an integrated model of Community Service. Integrated Community Service allows for up to one third of Community Service Order hours to be used to facilitate a participant's attendance at programmes and support services.
The Probation Service report that in 2016 a recruitment process commenced for new Probation Officers and a further recruitment of Community Service Supervisors.
The Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014, which commenced in January 2016, provides for a number of changes to the way in which fines may be paid, including by instalment, by attachment or recovery orders where appropriate, or by the undertaking of Community Service Orders of between 30 and 240 hours in place of the fine.
In December 2016 the fourth Probation Recidivism Study report was published by the Central Statistics Office which showed that the overall recidivism rate increased marginally from 37.3% to 37.5% between studies of those subject to Probation Service supervision or on Community Service in 2010 compared with 2009 figures. Results from the study also showed that almost 63% of offenders given one of these alternative sanctions by the Courts in 2010 had not re-offended after a three-year period.