Thursday 18 January 2018

Seven out of 10 prisoners unemployed before sentencing

Dearbhail McDonald, Legal Editor

SEVEN out of ten people who enter Irish prisons are unemployed according to the Director General of the Irish Prison Service.

Prisons chief Michael Donnellan has also revealed that 50pc of prisoners have never had a job and 50pc have no qualifications.

The numbers were revealed by Mr Donnellan at the launch this afternoon of the first annual report of the Irish Association of the Social Integration of Offenders (IASIO).

The report was launched by Justice Minister Alan Shatter who said that even in difficult times, it was vital to help offenders become " valued, pro-social members of society".

Many offenders had little self confidence and little self value, the minister said.

The IASIO, formerly Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), links support services for adult offenders on behalf of the Irish Prison Service and the Probation Service.

It offers community and prison based guidance and placement services as well as training, education and employment for offenders.

Resettlement programmes are also offered to offenders on their released from prison.

From 2000-2012, 11,234 former offenders, 10pc of whom are women, have engaged with the IASIO services.

 Of that, 6,683 people have been placed in employment, education or training.

Last year 618 ex offenders were placed into employment training or education and 203 entered into employment.

The Linkage Service enjoyed high rates of engagement, some 75pc, amongst ex offenders.

525 offenders were referred to the the prison based Gate Service prior to their release, gaining access to education and training.

In addition, 381 offenders were referred to the resettlement service to provide stable support for prisoners leaving the prison system.

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