118. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in providing restorative and reparative initiatives, tailored for women offenders in the community, and in custody; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7228/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Probation Service works in partnership with the Irish Prison Service to put in place targeted responses in relation to women offenders. This is undertaken under the auspices of the sentence management process. An in reach service is being provided by the Probation Service to work with women in Limerick prison with dedicated Probation Officers working in the community in other regions. In conjunction with other State and voluntary partners a centre has been developed in Finglas which provides supported accommodation and a suite of tailored services for women offenders referred from the community or leaving custody.
The Community Service Scheme, along side the more recently established Community Return initiative, operates primarily from a reparative model, requiring offenders to address the indirect harm to the community caused by their offending behaviour by performing unpaid work benefitting the local community. Women specific Community Service and Community Return options are continuously being identified and women offenders have been placed on them on an on-going basis.
Women are referred to restorative justice reparation panels by the Courts and the Probation Service and there is an awareness of the need to have a gender specific approach tailored to this category of offender. There are further plans to implement programmes of reparation nationally and support offender rehabilitation under the Probation Service Restorative Justice Strategy in 2015.