24 September 2015

The Minister for Justice and Ms. Frances Fitzgerald, today launched and was presented with the Biennial Report of the Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders (IASIO) for 2013 and 2014.  This report sets out how IASIO, a community based organisation funded by the Probation Service and Irish Prison Service supported the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into the community in the years 2013 and 2014.

IASIO provides three specific programmes to support the integration of offenders, the Linkage Programme, which is funded by the Probation Service, the Gate and the Resettlement Service both of which are funded by the Irish Prison Service.

Launching the report Minister Fitzgerald emphasised the important role the community plays in working with offenders, supporting their rehabilitation, reintegration and engagement in a positive lifestyle saying “It is recognised that many offenders come from difficult backgrounds and have complex needs such as alcohol or drug problems, literacy skills, and social skills. These people require a broad range of support and assistance in the community if they are to make better choices. I totally endorse this “rehabilitation and reintegration” approach, which was identified by the Penal Policy Review Group as a core principal and significant factor in reducing crime.”

The Report outlines how the organisation has provided support to over 8,800 clients in the last 3 years. This included placing 1,239 persons in training, providing 997 clients in further education, and placing 1,278 clients in employment.

The Minister said that she was delighted to meet the Board of IASIO and to learn more about the work of the organisation. She commented that “The case studies included in the report clearly demonstrate the real benefit of providing support and hope to those who wish to change their offending ways. A change in a person’s offending ways has a direct effect on reducing the number of crime victims.”

The Minister went on to say that, “While it is well known that I am particularly committed to strengthening support for the victims of crime, as Minister for Justice and Equality, I would also like to oversee a system which aims to reduce such numbers by a reduction in crime. My presence here today is an endorsement of the work done by both criminal justice agencies and community organisations in challenging offending behaviour which has at its centre the needs of victims to feel safer in their communities.

IASIO is jointly funded by the Irish Prison Service and the Probation Service. Both of these agencies work closely together adopting a multi agency approach to offender management and rehabilitation. The Minister stated that “The agencies share a common goal of maintaining public safety through the reduction of offending by those in their care, whether the offenders are placed directly under Probation supervision by the Courts, or sentenced to custody.   I am firm supporter of interagency work in achieving effective outcomes.”

The report is available at www.iasio.ie

ENDS

Note for Editors:

In 2013 and 2014, the total exchequer funding provided to IASIO was almost €3.5m. This is broken down as follows:
 2013  € 2014  €
Probation  Service (Linkage) 1,200,000 1,180,000
Irish Prison Service  (Gate & Resettlement projects) 556,483 562,702

The Linkage Programme will receive Probation Service funding of €1.2m in 2015.

The Irish Prison Service is expected to provide funding of €595,947 to IASIO in 2015. The referrals to the Gate and Resettlement service in 2015 are expected to exceed 500 and 300 respectively. 

The Linkage Programme is an employment and guidance service developed to support offenders who are under the supervision of the Probation Service to better reintegrate into their community and to identify appropriate education, training and employment for offenders.

The Gate Service provides guidance and placement services for prisoners at Mountjoy Campus, West Dublin Campus and Portlaoise Campus. The Gate service is delivered through Training and Employment Officers operating in the prisons.  The Gate Service is funded by the Irish Prison Service.

The Resettlement Service offer resettlement support to prisoners on release from prison at Mountjoy Campus, Castlerea, Cork and Loughan House. Following release the service supports prisoners to access housing, health services and other services while at the same time offering continued personal support.

IASIO provides a resettlement service to prisoners released under the Community Return Programme.