Reintegration of Offenders

IPRT promotes rehabilitation and social integration as central concerns of Irish penal policy.

Incarceration often damages the prisoner’s social functioning, therefore contributing to his or her return to offending following release. Studies have shown that imprisonment has a damaging effect on the mental health of the prisoners, and can impair the ability to function in the outside world; prisoners can become institutionalised and therefore unable to live outside of the prison environment.

Imprisonment also carries with it profound negative social impacts on the prisoner’s family and on his or her community, and often the consequences of even a short period of imprisonment are permanent for both the prisoner and those close to him. Research has shown that those communities to which most ex-prisoners return are those characterised by high levels of deprivation and least able to cope with their re-entry. IPRT believes that imprisonment can exacerbate such difficulties within such communities.

In this context, IPRT believes that appropriate preparation for release and post-release support play an important role in the successful return of former prisoners to their families, communities and the wider society. Two elements should always be considered: preparation during the course of the sentence (‘sentence-planning’) and coordinated support post-release. Preparation for release while still in prison should consider not only equipping prisoners with essential skills (such as work skills), but should also include making connections with the prisoner’s family and/or community outside of the prison environment, for example through the use of periods of temporary release.

IPRT believes that post-release support is crucial in the successful re-integration, and should link the former prisoner not only with potential employment opportunities but also with appropriate services in the community, for example with mental health services or substance abuse support groups. It should also consider support for prisoners’ families.

Management of Sex Offenders 12th October 2010

The Dept of Justice and Law Reform has published a 'Summary of views received on The Management of Sex Offenders - A Discussion Document' including, where appropriate, a response by the Department and an update as to what action has been taken in light of the consultative process. Read more

UK: Plans for prisoners to work 40-hour week 6th October 2010

Announcements have been made this week about plans to get prisoners working a full 40-hour week instead of spending their days in "enforced idleness" in prison cells. However, the extent to which such proposals would be workable in chronically overcrowded Irish prisons is less clear. Read more

RADE: Recovery through Art, Drama and Education 30th September 2010

RADE (Recovery through Art, Drama and Education) are hosting two events. The first is a Retrospective Art Exhibition (NCAD, until 23 Oct) and the second is a film screening for Social Inclusion Week (18-22 Oct 2010) on 20 Oct, 2010. Read more

Collateral Costs: Incarceration's effect on Economic Mobility 28th September 2010

In the United States, the Pew Charitable Trusts have released a new report examining the impact of incarceration on the economic opportunity and mobility of former inmates and their families. Read more

Reintegration of Prisoners in Ireland: New Research Findings 1st September 2010

An article featured in the Irish Probation journal, which is co-authored by Agnieszka Martynowicz and Martin Quigley, presents the findings of a study of the provision of reintegration support for prisoners leaving custody in Ireland which was carried out for IPRT. Read more

RTÉ Marian Finucane: Prisons in Ireland 28th August 2010

An in-depth discussion on imprisonment in Ireland, including its effectiveness (or not) as punishment, issues surrounding the availability of rehabilitation services (and information about services), drugs in prison and drug treatment in prison, and more. Read more

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 treatment of sex offenders in prison, and the management of the offenders on release. Read more

IPRT Briefing: Reintegration of Prisoners in Ireland 13th July 2010 PDF documents

A short document making 12 key recommendations towards the necessary improvement of reintegration services in Ireland, thereby stemming the high rates of recidivism which sees 60% of prisoners return to prison. Read more

London: Justice reinvestment aids ex-prisoners and cuts reoffending 12th July 2010

A senior police officer has called for a radical reform of the criminal justice system, arguing that money should be taken from failing prisons and given to community-based schemes, led by police, to cut reoffending. Read more

UK: The Power Inside - the role of prison councils 9th July 2010

A new report, published by User Voice, argues that prisoners should be given more power to influence how prisons operate and to improve the UK’s record on rehabilitation. It shows that doing so can reduce complaints, segregation and encourage civic participation on release. Read more

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