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.

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

England: Prison Councils to enable prisoners to participate 18th September 2009

"We need a structure that enables prisoners to participate," writes Mark Johnson of Uservoice on a pilot project that will see Prison Councils set up in three English prisons. Read more

Children Need Dads Too - Children with fathers in prison 11th September 2009 PDF documents

A new publication from the Quakers United Nations Office identifies that children are heavily impacted by parental imprisonment, and greater attention should be given to their rights, needs and welfare in criminal justice policy and practice. Read more

Spent Convictions Scheme report launched 15th May 2009

The report of the Spent Convictions Group was launched on Thursday, 14th May, at the Law Society, Blackhall Place, by Mr. John Lonergan, Governor of Mountjoy Prison. Read more

Spent Convictions Bill to be Debated by Dail 17th December 2008

IPRT welcomes the introduction for second stage today in the Dáil of the Spent Convictions Bill 2007 Read more

IPRT Position Paper 2: Spent Convictions 20th November 2008 PDF documents

A Position Paper setting out IPRT's position on the proposal of a Spent Convictions Bill. Read more

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