Irish Penal Reform Trust

The Irish Times: ‘Prisoner numbers in highly successful rehabilitation scheme cut by half’

29th April 2019

On 29 April 2019, The Irish Times reported on the drop in numbers of prisoners being admitted to the highly successful Community Return Scheme.

The Community Return Scheme allows certain prisoners to complete unpaid community work in exchange for their early release. The programme is available to those who are serving more than one year but less than eight, and who have completed at least 50% of their sentence. Since its establishment in 2012, the Community Return Scheme has maintained a compliance rate of approximately 90%.

The Irish Times reports the drop in numbers participating in the programme from over 100 at a given point in time before 2015 to approximately less than 50 in 2019.

IPRT Executive Director Fiona Ní Chinnéide spoke to The Irish Times about the drop:

“IPRT is very concerned at the reduction in the number of prisoners accessing the community return programme, considering its proven success at reducing prisoner numbers safely and supporting reintegration into the community.”

“The burden on the prison system is reduced, and the community gains from unpaid work carried out. It’s a win-win programme for everyone.”

The continued exclusion of those serving presumptive minimum sentences from the Community Return Scheme, and other forms or early or temporary release, was also highlighted by Ms Ní Chinnéide. Additionally, Ms Ní Chinnéide called for research into why the programme is less successful for female prisoners.

For more, read the article in full on The Irish Times website here.

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Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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