Saturday 22 October 2016

Plan unveiled to change behaviour of serial offenders and burglars by educating them

Published 23/09/2016 | 02:30

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald speaking at The Ploughing yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald speaking at The Ploughing yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Serial offenders and burglars will be offered education and employment programmes to try and change their behaviour.

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It will involve the most prolific offenders being targeted in a joint approach by An Garda Síochána, the Prison Service and the Probation Service.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the strategy aimed to cut down on recidivism. She said the aim of the plan was to have a joint approach to managing the behaviour of offenders, making it more difficult for them to fall back into a life of crime.

"Breaking the cycle of offending is essential to reducing crime and protecting the public. A disproportionate amount of property crime, some 75pc, is linked to 25pc of offenders," she said.

"Targeting this cohort of repeat offenders has the potential to significantly reduce the number of burglaries being committed."


The Tánaiste said that while she believed prison was "the right place for serious and serial offenders", it made sense to target identified prolific offenders with joint agency initiatives "to address criminal behaviour and the harm it does".

"In this way, offenders' behaviour can be changed, crime reduced and public safety increased," she said.

Part of the plan is a project known as J-ARC, which has been running in parts of Dublin since 2014.

It has focused on targeting prolific adult offenders in East Ballymun and adult male offenders living in Dublin with a history of violent crime.

That project is now being extended to Dundalk, Limerick and Waterford cities.

Ms Fitzgerald said the potential benefits for former offenders were dramatic.

"New life opportunities are more possible," she said.

"Opportunities for better personal health and welfare, for education and development, and for employment, all provide the prospect for a better life and better personal relationships. This in turn supports ongoing desistance."

Irish Independent

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