Gardaí monitoring 100 sex offenders

More than 100 sex offenders living in communities across the country are subject to monitoring as part of post-release supervision orders.

Figures released by Justice minister Frances Fitzgerald show the largest concentration of sex offenders subject to supervision under Part 5 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001 is in the West and North West, where 30 are living.

In a written Dáil reply to Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan, Ms Fitzgerald confirmed 28 are living in the Dublin North and North East region, with 22 living in the Dublin South and Wicklow region. A further 17 are living in the South West area, while 17 are living in the Midlands and South East.

In the UK, under ‘Sarah’s Law’, parents are allowed to ask the police if someone, who might have contact with their children, has a criminal record for child sex offences. No such provision exists in Irish law.

Around 1,000 sex offenders are obliged to provide local gardaí with their address and to notify them when they are moving.

However, post supervision orders go a step further, requiring offenders to undergo psychological counselling or other treatment.

Those sex offenders who breach post release supervision conditions are liable to prison terms not exceeding 12 months.

Ms Fitzgerald said figures relating to non-compliance of supervision orders were not readily available.

In a separate Dáil reply to Deputy O’Callaghan, Ms Fitzgerald confirmed that there is currently one sex offender and three killers on temporary release.

Earlier this month, the Irish Prison Service (IPS) confirmed that only 19 of the 60 sex offenders to be released from Irish jails for the remainder of this year are engaged in its dedicated sex offender treatment programme.

There are around 400 individuals convicted of sexual violence in the prison system at any one time, with 300 in the Midlands Prison and 100 in Arbour Hill.

The low numbers of sex offenders being treated is underlined by figures from the IPS, which show that of the 67 sex offenders released to date in 2016, 25 have engaged in the Building Better Lives (BBL) offender programme across the Irish prison system.

In addition, the Probation Service has engaged or, is currently engaging, in offence-related work, including risk management work with 25 men in the Midlands Prison.

Before release, individuals convicted of sexual violence often have their cases considered by the Parole Board, while they will also be subject to multi- disciplinary case conferences in prison.

The IPS also confirmed that of the total number of individuals, who were convicted of sexual violence, in custody at present, approximately half of them will be required to participate in post-release supervision with the Probation Service.

The remainder do not have post-release supervision, but all have notification requirements for the gardaí.

A statement from the IPS said only those men convicted of sexual violence who admit their offence are accepted on to the national treatment programme for sex offenders.


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