Sunday 21 October 2018

Gardai monitoring 192 sex offenders after their release

There are 192 sex offenders living in communities across the country subject to special Garda monitoring. (Stock Photo)
There are 192 sex offenders living in communities across the country subject to special Garda monitoring. (Stock Photo)
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

There are 192 sex offenders living in communities across the country subject to special Garda monitoring, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

New figures show that 126 people convicted of more serious offences are now subject to strict post-release supervision orders.

Those in this category must rigidly adhere to agreed restraining measures, including bans on attending designated locations, such as schools, sports clubs and playgrounds.

Psychological counselling or other 'appropriate treatment' may also be ordered.

Abusers are required to inform an employer of the nature of their conviction when applying for any job that involves unsupervised access or contact with a child, or a minor with a mental disability.

Under Irish law, failure to do so can result in a fine of up to €12,697, a five-year prison sentence, or both.

The majority of sex offenders subject to post-release supervision orders live in the north and north-east areas of Dublin.

Campaigners stress there are legal guidelines in both the US and UK that allow parents to establish whether or not someone who lives close by has a record of child abuse. However, no specific legislation exists in this country that requires gardai to disclose the address of a freed convicted sex offender.

Meanwhile, new data shows an average of 30 sex offenders a year sign up for a special rehabilitation programme while in prison.

One such therapeutic intervention is the Building Better Lives (BBL) programme, developed by the Irish Prison Service and introduced in Arbour Hill prison in 2009.

The programme is carried out by clinical, counselling and forensic psychologists.

Typically, eight offenders take part in the programme at any one time.

It involves group therapy and aims to reduce the risk of reoffending. All participants must acknowledge "full admission" of their offence, and the harm caused to a victim, so as to qualify for a place on the course.

They must also have a "robust personality" to withstand the "challenges" of therapy.

Sunday Independent

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