331. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of sex offenders released from prison in 2014; the number of these prisoners who participated in the Building Better Lives programme; the number due to be released in 2015; the corresponding participation rates; her plans to implement the recommendation of her Department's 2009 review of the management of sex offenders, which recommends that sex offenders should not be eligible for early release if they fail to participate in such courses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40463/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that 136 Sexual offenders were released from custody in 2014, and 29 participated in the Building Better Lives Programme on a Group or Individual Basis. A further 136 Sexual offenders are due for release from custody in 2015, and 22 have participated in the Building Better Lives Programme. Offenders not recorded in the Building Better Lives Programme may be involved with other agencies such as the Probation Service, Addiction Services, or the Psychiatric Services. In addition, I should emphasise that sexual offenders released from prison who are subject to notification requirements under the Sex Offenders Act 2001 are required to notify the Gardaí of any change in their home address .
The Irish Prison Service works closely with the Probation Service at all times to ensure that assessment, intervention, and risk management are provided to the largest possible number of sex offenders. The Irish Prison Service views engagement with treatment and risk management initiatives as a pre-requisite for offenders to be considered for enhanced regimes, and release planning. In line with International research and best practice, the Building Better Lives Programme targets high intensity levels of intervention reserved for moderate to high risk offenders, focusing on factors relevant to the risk of re-offending.
The Building Better Lives programme is located in Arbour Hill Prison. The Irish Prison Service is currently in the process of expanding this programme to the Midlands Campus which accommodates a significant number of sexual offenders. This will allow for enhanced screening processes with this population, and the establishment of the components of the Building Better Lives Programme. These developments are aimed at developing the earliest possible engagement with an increased number of sexual offenders as part of their sentence management.