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.

Oireachtas debate on the use of Temporary Release 17th May 2010

Parliamentary questions regarding the numbers on temporary release and its usefulness. Read more

Irish Examiner: Project bridges the gap 14th May 2010

Since 1991, Dublin's Bridge Project has been working with persistent offenders and offering an alternative to prison. Read more

Mentoring, Social Capital and Desistance: A Study of Women Released from Prison 21st April 2010

New research explores the use of mentoring programmes in aiding reintegration of ex-prisoners. Read more

Herald Article Reiterates Need for Reintegration of Offenders 13th April 2010

Familiar figures demonstrate the lack of effective reintegration and the dire consequences. Read more

Prisons for the next generation 29th March 2010

With prisons under severe pressure from overcrowding, the government must take urgent steps to tackle the challenge of prisoner rehabilitation. This is the message at the heart of The Learning Prison, a new report that draws on the research of the RSA’s Prison Learning Network. Read more

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

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

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

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

viewed here