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Community put at risk by failings in management

Community put at risk by failings in sentence management

Green MP Nandor Tanczos today accused the Corrections Department of putting the community at risk after a highly critical evaluation of the Integrated Offender Management (IOMS) regime.

“In both the short term and the long term problems in implementing the system mean an increased risk to the community,” said Nandor, the Green Justice spokesperson.

“According to the report the problems are many: risk criteria are incorrectly applied, leading to an inaccurate assessment of risk; the programmes needed to address the causes of offending, when identified, are not available; and information about offenders’ response to programmes is missing from most files.

“This is a shocking indictment of the way the IOMS has been implemented. What began as a good idea has been totally buggered up.

“To be fair to the current minister, he has inherited problems. The real question is how to resolve them.

“In some ways, the breakdown at Community Probation Service (CPS) level is most concerning, simply because the best chance we have to turn someone away from a life of crime is in identifying the issues early and addressing them, rather than wait for them to go to jail.

“Effective rehabilitation needs to be community-based,” he said. “There needs to be a long term capacity-building programme to reverse the decades of neglect that successive Governments have inflicted on rehabilitative measures while following a vote-catching punitive approach.

“The analysis showed that of 3003 CPS offenders known to have attended programmes, only 241 had a sentence plan in IOMS. However, of these 241 only 40 attended a programme linked to an objective in a sentence plan.

“This indicates that less than 20 per cent of CPS programme places are allocated to address and identify cause of offending. It’s bloody scary, frankly.

“At a time when the Government has embarked on a massive prison building programme its ridiculous that it does not adequately provide effective rehabilitation strategies aimed at keeping people out of jail,” he said.

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