Decline in Community Return Programme numbers branded ‘disappointing’
A decline in the number of offenders participating in the Community Return Programme has been branded “disappointing” by penal reform campaigners.
The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) welcomed new figures from the Probation Service showing that an increasing number of offenders are being dealt with through community-based sanctions.
However, the number of offenders participating in the Community Return Programme has fallen to 218, down from 462 in 2014.
Fíona Ní Chinnéide, IPRT executive director, said: “With increased pressure on the prison system, now is the time for more, rather than less of this successful intervention.”
IPRT is seeking action to address decreasing numbers on the Community Return Programme.
Ms Ní Chinnéide continued: “Structured, early-release is a proven way to reduce pressure on our prisons in a safe and effective way. Given the current pressures on our prisons, a fresh review of criteria for community return should be undertaken with a view to expanding eligibility. An independent review of programme outcomes should also be undertaken, particularly for women.”