The Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern has announced a new policy on the management of sex offenders in prison. The key points announced by the minister on April 22nd are initiatives to increase the range and availability of therapeutic interventions in prison for sex offenders and incentives to encourage participation in them, including the prospect of early, supervised release. A centre for sex offenders will be set up in Arbour hill, with an increase in the number of offenders accommodated there. There will be two satellite centres in the Midlands and Wheatfield prisons, where a narrower range of interventions will be available. Also prisonsers will be transferred to the national centre in accordance with sentence planning and demand for interventions. Offenders serving at least one year and willing to participate in a therapeutic program will be able to do so when the scheme is fully operational. A key part of the policy is putting emphasis on the transition from prison to community as stability in employment and accommodation has been found to be crucial in preventing reoffending.
Minister Ahern said these measures constituted strong incentive to participate in interventions but equally important, they could play a vital role in helping offenders reintegrate into their communities after imprisonment