Paddy Richardson, Chief Executive of Irish

Prison, Homelessness, Prison – why the rotating door and
what is being done about it?
Paddy Richardson, Chief Executive, IASIO
Jerry Williams, IASIO, Resettlement Support Worker, Castlerea & Loughan House Prisons
Focus Ireland Conference, Aviva Stadium, 25th September 2015
Connecting People to Effect Positive Change
The Linkage Service
Prison in-reach guidance and placement service , for all offender categories
Funded by the Probation Service and operational since 2000
No. of persons referred = *17,335, No. of people reintegrated = 7,180
(*= 41,181 re-referrals of same persons)
The Gate Service
Prison based guidance and placement service for all offender categories
Funded by the IPS and in operation since 2007
No. of persons referred = **4,491, No. of people reintegrated = 1,537
(**= 9379 re-referrals of same persons)
The Resettlement Service
Prison based resettlement support service for all offender categories
Funded by the IPS and in operation since 2011
No. of persons referred = ***1,276, No. of people resettled = 351;
(***= 2151 re-referrals of same persons)
Resettlement & Reintegration
Our primary objective is to add value to the work of the Probation Service and
the Prison Service. In doing so, we engage with community based agencies
and employers to try to ensure that rehabilitation and reintegration becomes
the responsibility of the whole community and not just Criminal Justice
agencies such as the Courts, Probation or Prison services.
The Bridge to the Community
Training, Education,
Employment; address
Linkage Service
Gate Service
Resettlement Service
Training Education and
promoting effective
resettlement and
addressing barriers
Housing, welfare,
addictions, family,
effecting structured
resettlement and
addressing barriers
Ideal Reintegration?
* Early re-integration
preparation with client
and within a multi-d
* Trusting relationships
with key personnel
* Clear definition of
risks – to others, to
one’s self, of re-offense
for similar crime or
different one
* Clear assessment of
relevant risk
* Motivated and
engaged client
* Realistic resettlement
& re-integration plans
centred on prisoner,
including family,
* Sharing of plans
between prison and
community agencies
* Practical arrangement
made before release
*release date set
* Clear Plan
* Through-care
resettlement support
from prison to
* Supported access
to essential services
*On-going client
contact with trusted
CJ professional
* Continuity of
supervision and
treatment, e.g.
Probation and
* Access to family
* Criminal Justice
support of change &
* On-going access to
welfare and housing
* Education
* Employment
* Family
* Addiction services
* Lifestyle
* Community
* Autonomy and
Resettlement v Reintegration?
There is no conflict whatever – reintegration is a process that must follow
resettlement. In our understanding of what we mean by re-integration we
believe that resettlement has to come first because;
• Resettlement requires the client is housed with access to welfare and
medical services but he or she could still remain isolated. (no social bonds)
• Therefore and in our view, Reintegration means the above – access
FIRSTLY to medical, housing and welfare services. And, ideally but not
necessarily in the same order – social connections / social bonds are
made. My colleague Jerry Williams will give you his perspective of the
main issues for his clients…….
Experience of a practitioner
Jerry Williams
IASIO Resettlement Service
Castlerea and Loughan House Prisons.
Practical examples of issues facing ex-prisoners
Client A
• 26 year-old
• Served 5 years for manslaughter.
• Returned to education up to and including Leaving Cert.
• Unable to return to family home or locality as victim was a neighbour.
• Applied for and accepted on Honours Degree course at ****I T
• Application for Housing made to **** County Council.
• Fully completed application form.
• Local Connection qualified by copy of written offer of education.
• Letters of support from myself and Probation service and official Certificate
of Imprisonment” etc.
Experience of a practitioner
Jerry Williams
IASIO Resettlement Service
Castlerea and Loughan House Prisons.
Recent Strategic Review of Penal Policy
16th September 2014
P.31: “For many repeat offenders, addiction, homelessness and other social
difficulties are all too common factors in their offending behaviour”.
P.65: “There is evidence of higher than normal mental health problems among
female offenders, higher levels of addiction and homelessness and
other significant vulnerabilities”.
P.78 “Homelessness creates an enormous level of chaos in a person’s life. It
exposes persons to risk and negative influences”………” the negative
impact of homelessness cannot be underestimated. Releasing a person
from prison who has no accommodation or, at best, inadequate
temporary accommodation serves neither a rehabilitative purpose nor
supports reintegration”…….. “For those under community supervision,
homelessness impedes a person from maintaining contact with
community supervision or treatment programmes, as the case may be”.
Achieving balance
Client work
Achieving Balance
Client Work
Effective service provision for engaged
Establish if there a lead agency in each
resettlement, e.g. as arising out of post
release supervision orders or distinct
medical or psychological needs
Policy &
Establish release policies at prison level that
inform release protocols and practice,
Desistance focused interventions for those
disengaged but able
Plan resettlement and reintegration within
multi-d framework
Identify needs and strengths as well as risks
Encourage & motivate change
Tailored interventions for those unable to
fully engage
Establish referral protocols with training,
and education providers in the community
Establish clear role boundaries between
prison based agencies
Ensure confidential review process among
prison based agencies
Establish referral protocols with essential
service providers, e.g. housing, addiction
Build the community into the release plan
early on, both family & services
Imagine integration for each individual client
Manage contacts with community based
Engage media outlets, in particular national
broadcast agency around the representation
of offender issues, e.g. RTE audience council.
• There is an obvious gap in service provision between prison and
community based agencies, which must be navigated.
• People who have served time in prison have a set of needs distinct from
those who were never imprisoned.
• The person working in the state Housing department, Welfare service,
Health Services who is unlikely to have ever seen the inside of a prison, is
also very unlikely to have ever been trained to understand the many issues
facing people who have served time in prison and who now rely on them
for their assistance and guideance.
• Our prisoners are still our citizens and if we must treat all the citizens of our
state equally as our customers then it is only right that all divisions or
cross-functional state staff should be trained to understand their
customer’s needs.
• There is no single solution to reducing recidivistic behaviour – Housing is
one essential part of the need for an overall multi-disciplinary response.

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