Thursday, 16 November 2023
Department of Justice and Equality
186. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide a breakdown of the total current number of prisoners who have been convicted of a sexual offence, by prison and gender and age, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50416/23]
187. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide the number of prisoners committed under sentence for sexual offences each year from 2018 to present, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50417/23]
188. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide the number of prisoners committed for sexual offences who have completed the Building Better Lives programme over the past five years, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50418/23]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 186, 187 and 188 together.
The information requested by the Deputy on the number of prisoners who have been convicted of a sexual offence, by prison, gender and age, is set out in table 1 below. On 31st October, there were 598 individuals currently serving a sentence where their most serious offence was categorised as a sexual offence.
The additional details requested in respect of the number of prisoners committed under sentence for sexual offences each year from 2018 to present, is set out in table 2 below. This information is also available on the Irish Prison Service website www.irishprisons.ie/information-centre/statistics-information/yearly-statistics/.
Table 1- The number of prisoners who have been convicted of a sexual offence, by prison, gender and age
|Establishment||18 to <21||21 to <25||25 to <30||30 to <40||40 to <50||50 years +||Total|
Table 2- The number of prisoners committed for sexual offences from 2018 to 2022
|Sexual Offences||<3 Mths||3 to <6 Mths||6 to <12 Mths||1 to <2 Yrs||2 to <3 Yrs||3 to <5 Yrs||5 to <10 Yrs||10+ Yrs||Life||Total|
The Building Better Lives (BBL) Programme is the Sex Offender Treatment Programme delivered in the Irish Prison Service, and is based on the Canadian Rockwood Model and jointly delivered with the Probation Service. It is provided over two stages – Exploring Better Lives (Part 1) which lasts 12 weeks, and Practising Better Lives (Part 2) which lasts for 60-70 sessions. Typically eight participants attend each group at any one time.
The number of prisoner who completed the BBL Programme in the last five years is set out in table 3.
Table 3- The number of participants who completed the Building Better Lives programme in the last 5 years
|Year||No. of Participants|
The BBL programme is currently undergoing a major review by a Canadian expert, Professor Liam Marshall, and a final report is expected in the coming weeks. Following receipt of Professor Marshall’s report, a new model of treatment for sexual violence will be developed to incorporate a multi-trajectory, person centred and trauma informed approach to the understanding and treatment of sexual violence. This will directly address current low participation rates, and will seek to increase the numbers accessing treatment.
The additional funding secured for psychologists in 2023 will allow an additional senior psychologist and principal psychologist specialist to be recruited to support the delivery of this expanded sex offender treatment programme.
The new approach will focus on early intervention, a responsive model of treatment which will address a broader range of criminogenic needs and will include engaging with people who deny their offences, those who are at low risk of re-offending, and/or those on short sentences who were previously excluded from the BBL Programme. These changes should result in a significant reduction in the barriers to treatment, thereby significantly increasing access to sexual violence treatment.
I can further advise the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service provide other assessments and treatment for people convicted of sexual violence, depending on the person’s strengths, needs and risks, including:
•Individual offence focused work by the Irish Prison Service Psychology Service
•Individual or group work focused on mental health, emotional regulation or other offence relatedneed by the Psychology Service;
•Psychology ‘Pathways to Change’ group (focuses on an introduction to risk factors);
• Engagement with prison in-reach psychiatry service for stabilisation and maintenance of mentalhealth where a mental health diagnosis is made;•Education and Work training;
•Integrated Sentence Management;
•Engagement with the Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders (IASIO);•Engagement with Resettlement Services;
•Sex Offender Risk Assessment and Management (SORAM);
•Safer Lives Community Group Work Treatment Programme (and allied community interventions).