Almost 22,000 offenders have been supported by a community organisation over the last five years, with 13,000 placed in employment, education, or training.
The Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders takes referrals from criminals across the offending spectrum — including public order offenders, burglars, and even killers. It runs a range of programmes that try to turn their lives around and, in doing so, cut down on reoffending and make society a safer place. The association’s annual report for 2013 and 2014 shows:
Since 2000, some 21,339 offenders have been assisted, with more than 13,000 placed in employment, education or training.
“Most of the people referred to us come from the most disadvantaged communities in the country,” said the association’s chief executive, Paddy Richardson.
“It is true they have committed a crime and come to us with a question mark over them as to what they might or might not do in the future. With the right support that change is possible and that question mark hanging over them begins to fade as they are supported into something more rewarding.”
The association’s is funded by the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service. It runs three projects — the Linkage Service; the Gate Service and the Resettlement Service.
Linkage has been there since 2000 and helps offenders access appropriate training, education and employment and covers most parts of the country.
The Gate and Resettlement services put a plan in place to reintegrate prisoners back into society.
Launching the report, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said: “While it is well known I am particularly committed to strengthening support for victims of crime, as Minister for Justice, I would also like to oversee a system which aims to reduce such numbers by a reduction in crime.”
The report shows of 8,800 people supported: 1,430 (21%) had drug convictions; 1,002 (15%) had convictions for assault; 806 (12%) had convictions for theft; 551 (8%) had robbery convictions; 467 (7%) were convicted burglars; 272 (4%) had homicide convictions; 220 (3%) has sexual offences convictions; and 200 (3%) had weapons’ offence convictions.
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