Reintegration of Offenders

Prison represents a serious restriction on the rights of the prisoner, quite apart from the deprivation of liberty. 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. Losing contact with family, employment and social or community services and networks, even for a short period, can have long-lasting negative effects. 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.

UK: Investors to Pay for Prisoner Rehabilitation 19th March 2010

The Guardian reports on a new initiative which will see private investors pay for a project to rehabilitate prisoners and receive a return on their money if reoffending rates drop. Read more

The Question of Rehabilitation and Reintegration 4th March 2010

In light of Jon Venables' return to prison, how must we assess the ability of offenders to rehabilitate and reintegrate? Read more

UK: Families Workshops in Prison 26th February 2010

The provision of families workshops in prison is providing many men with real incentives to change their lives. Read more

Irish Examiner: Jobs key to prevent prisoners reoffending 26th February 2010

Interviews with young offenders in St. Patrick's Institutions reveal their opinions on reoffending. Read more

What keeps prisoners from learning? 16th February 2010

Even when offenders have the courage to undertake a course in prison, there are many barriers to overcome Read more

UK: The Importance of Skills and Training in Successful Reintegration 4th February 2010

A report introduced in the UK today puts skills and training at the forefront as the key to aiding reintegration and reducing re-offending. Read more

Northern Ireland: Leaving Prison Mentors 18th January 2010

The Prince’s Trust is now looking for former offenders (with experience of prison) to be positive role models for young adults in custody. Read more

Business in the Community: The Linkage Programme 12th January 2010

The Linkage Programme is a joint project between Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) and the Probation Service with support from IBEC, the Small Firms Association and ICTU. Read more

Barnados (2009) Every Night You Cry 29th October 2009

The launch of the publication by Barnados UK 'Every Night You Cry' in October 2009. The report looks at the impact of parental imprisonment on children. Read more

NIACRO Project: Families on Trial 14th October 2009

Powerful short documentaries, voiced by real family members, telling their own moving stories. Read more

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