‘Unsupported’ sex offenders are likely to reoffend

Many jailed sex offenders are released into an “unsupervised and unsupported abyss” that inevitably results in them reoffending and returning to prison, an official inspection body has said.

It said those released from Arbour Hill Prison, the country’s dedicated jail for sex offenders, are typically subjected to “persecution and harassment” when freed.

The Arbour Hill Visiting Committee said legislation was needed to being to an end the “merry-go-round” of which State agency was responsible for their care on release.

The committee’s 2012 inspection report was one of five prison visiting committee reports published yesterday.

The Cork Prison committee said there was a “constant and unacceptable overcrowding problem” in the jail, which it described as “archaic and Dickensian” in parts.

The Limerick Prison committee said there was still “unacceptably high numbers” of inmates on protection and that there was a continuing drug problem.

The Arbour Hill committee praised the conditions of the prison, It said the standard of hygiene and cleanliness was “exemplary” and the quality of food provided to inmates was “excellent”.

It said there was a strong emphasis on education, training, and rehabilitation. It said a sex offender programme, Building Better Lives, which replaced an older programme in 2009, had succeeded in achieving significantly higher participation rates.

The report said that the biggest problem was accommodation and post-release support for sex offenders.

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