Thursday 8 December 2016

Only 19 out of 60 sex offenders engaging with treatment programme

Gordon Deegan

Published 15/07/2016 | 02:30

There are about 400 individuals convicted of sexual violence in the Irish prison system at any one time, with 300 in the Midlands Prison (pictured) and 100 in Arbour Hill. Photo: Collins
There are about 400 individuals convicted of sexual violence in the Irish prison system at any one time, with 300 in the Midlands Prison (pictured) and 100 in Arbour Hill. Photo: Collins

Only 19 of the 60 sex offenders to be released from Irish jails for the remainder of this year are engaged in the Irish Prison Service's dedicated treatment programme.

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The Irish Prison Service (IPS) confirmed it was extending the National Treatment Programme in order to tackle the low numbers of prisoners availing of the service's Building Better Lives (BBL) programme.

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

Until now, there has been no dedicated sex offenders' treatment programme at the Midlands Prison. However, this was about to change, the IPS confirmed yesterday. The capacity of the IPS to treat large numbers of prisons on the BBL is constrained by the programme having capacity for only eight prisoners at any one time at each prison.

The low numbers of sex offenders being treated is underlined with figures from the IPS showing that of the 67 sex offenders released to date in 2016, only 25 have engaged in the BBL 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.

A statement from the IPS also confirmed that only those men convicted of sexual violence who admitted their offence were accepted on to the programme.

Irish Independent

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