The Irish Penal Reform Trust launched insightful original research into prisoners’ experiences of reintegration in Ireland and the challenges posed to those who provide support upon release.
This research is groundbreaking in its findings and provides a picture of reintegration which adds the voices of prisoners to a debate which is only in the early stages in Ireland.
The policy implications of the work are numerous. They include:
- There should be a statutory duty to reintegrate and statutory duties on statutory agencies to co-operate together to facilitate the reintegration of prisoners.
- The extension of integrated sentence managment programmes and prison in-reach and court liaison projects.
- The provision of more information to prisoner prior to release about services which are available in the community
- There is a need for more structured use of temporary release
- The Irish Prison Service should collect data regularly on the number of people leaving prison. To this, it could be added that follow up surveys such as that conducted by O’Donnell et al should be carried out yearly.
One of the great achievements of the research is its inclusion of the voices of prisoners and service providers dealing with those released from prison. Such work needs to be developed within the Irish criminological research community in order to get a full understanding of the experiences of those imprisoned, and released, in Ireland and also to contribute to policy and practice.
The full report can be found here.