A tripartite rehabilitation programme for ‘prolific’ offenders is believed to have halted 100 potential burglaries in the capital.
The Joint Agency Response to Crime conference at Blackhall Place on 25 September, 2018 shared evaluations of the 89 persistent offenders who were admitted to three two-year rehabilitation pilot programmes, many after repeated incarceration.
Thirty per cent, or 27, did not reoffend, while ten per cent partially re-offended but their crimes tended to be less serious.
In the targeted Dublin 8 and Tallaght districts, there was a 37 per cent reduction in burglaries, representing 100 households.
The JARC offender management programme is run by the Irish Prisons Service, the Probation Service and An Garda Síochána. In Dublin’s north inner city it was commended in both the Confederation of European Probation Awards 2016, and the Civil Service Awards for outstanding contribution to rehabilitation.
The programme is being extended to cover juvenile offenders in Cork and Dublin according to Minister for State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton.
“I believe firmly that the earlier you can intervene the better, in order to divert young people away from crime,” he told the Gazette.
The Minister, who previously chaired the Oireachtas justice committee, said that this joint agency approach is best practice in other jurisdictions.
“The evidence we have been presented with this morning is very exciting, very interesting. It shows that where this approach has been used, crime has dropped and quite a number of offenders have decided to give up crime fully,” he said.
"The evidence is that it is really beneficial and cost-effective. The emphasis is on a different way of working and it is not as resource-intensive as people might expect.”
The JARC conference heard from Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy that it is “difficult” to effect change in the public sector because of the need to prove that change will work.
He said that the decision by gardai to case-manage serious offenders in Dublin’s north inner city in 2006 had a positive impact. While the gardai were operating in a silo at the time, the initiative gained traction when ad hoc frontline integration with the Prison Service and the Probation Service was formalised in 2015.
Alignment of effort
“This is about an alignment of effort between the agencies to have an impact on crime in communities around Ireland,” he said.
Minister David Stanton told the conference that this dynamic partnership and multi-agency approach reduces crime and victimisation in local communities, and is closely supported by the Department of Justice.
“These programmes help the participants to make positive changes in their lives,” the Minister said, and offer tailored practical supports in training and education and addiction treatment.