Sex Offenders

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Is The Sex Offenders Register For A Garda Siochana, Effective In Monitoring Sex Offenders Within The Republic Of Ireland?

Is The Sex Offenders Register For A Garda Siochana, Effective In Monitoring Sex Offenders Within The Republic Of Ireland?


The management of sex offenders in prison has two clear dimensions - security and rehabilitation, including interventions to address their offending behaviour. This policy document addresses the intervention dimension.

Public protection is the key principle underpinning the document. Managing sex offenders in prison and their resettlement into the community has clear implications for future public protection and this is a sensitive and complex process. About eight percent of the prison population at any one time have been convicted of sex offences. Among their number are some of the most serious offenders in terms of persistence and form of abuse.

In response to this problem, a range of specific and generic interventions has been in place. These include individual counselling and offence-focused work from the IPS Psychology Service and from the Probation Service. A Sex Offender Programme was initiated in 1994 but was concluded in 2008 following a review. The Programme was an intensive programme undertaken by a relatively small number of offenders each year. The replacement programme is described more fully in Section 4. It comprises three distinct elements (exploratory, practice and maintenance) and is more flexible and responsive to individual prisoners' needs, risk and capacity. Other generic interventions available to sex offenders include anger management, interventions for substance abuse and skills development.

Interventions for sex offenders in Irish prisons have, in conjunction with appropriate community follow-up and support, the potential to significantly improve community safety by reducing the risk of re-offending. For this reason serious consideration needs to be given to broadening the range of interventions and increasing participation, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of interventions. Increasing engagement and maximising effectiveness will represent key elements of any strategy to maintain and enhance public safety. IPS sex offender interventions can only ever be part of a wider strategy for ensuring public safety. The work of statutory and non-statutory agencies will be vital in copper-fastening the gains made in prison after release.

The drafting of this Policy has taken account of commitments in the Programme for Government “A Blueprint for Ireland's Future 2007-2012” and has also been informed significantly by desktop research of international developments in this field and by the Report on Child Protection published by the Joint Committee on Child Protection in 2006. That Committee recommended the development of a comprehensive and fully-funded programme for the assessment and treatment of convicted sex offenders, beginning upon conviction and continuing for as long as necessary through any period of imprisonment and after release. This Policy represents the IPS response to that recommendation. A copy of the elements of that Report relating to the assessment and treatment of imprisoned sex offenders is attached at Appendix 1 to this Policy.

The drafting of the Policy took place against a backdrop of a number of initiatives to strengthen the State's ...
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