Lifelong Learning Programme

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Report on the 2nd Workshop
“Transnational Comparative Analysis”,
Dublin, Ireland, 12-15 June 2013

The aim of the second JCN project workshop is to carry out a transnational comparative analysis of transition management strategies in the JCN partner countries
Dublin, Ireland
12 – 15 June 2013
Preparatory Work
Experts involved
Mark Wilson, Probation Service, Ireland
Mark Wilson is Probation Service Regional Manager. SORAM is a multi-agency model for Sex Offender Risk Assessment and Management in Ireland with the Probation Service, An Garda Síochána, Health Service Executive and the Irish Prison Service as partners. Mark Wilson is the Probation Service’s lead member on the National SORAM Committee and has been involved in SORAM since its inception as a pilot project in 2008.

Robert Templeton, the Children and Family Services of the Health Service, Ireland
Robert Templeton is national specialist in the Children and Family Services of the Health Service Executive (HSE). Robert Templeton is the HSE’s lead member of the National SORAM Committee and has been involved since its invitation to join in 2010.

Prof. Dr. jur. Frieder Dünkel, University of Greifswald, Germany
Frieder Dünkel studied law at the universities of Heidelberg and Freiburg/Germany (second state examination in 1976). His Ph.D. in 1979 dealt with an empirical research on the effectiveness of therapeutic treatment in prisons. From 1979 until 1992 he worked as a researcher at the Max-Plank-Institute of Foreign and International Penal Law, Criminological Unit, in Freiburg (together with Prof. Günther Kaiser).The subject of his "Habilitation" in 1989 was "Juvenile imprisonment and other forms of deprivation of liberty in an international comparison". Since 1992 he teaches criminology, penology, juvenile justice, criminal procedure and penal law at the university of Greifswald in the north-east of Germany. The research at the chair (department) of criminology covers a wide range of empirical studies in juvenile criminology, penology, prisons and alternative sanctions, alcohol and drunk driving, drug policy etc. Prof. Dünkel is the co-editor of the Journal "Neue Kriminalpolitik" since 1989 and has organised many international conferences.

David Williamson, Bridge Project, Ireland
David Williamson is a Senior Probation Officer managing a team of Probation Officers at the Bridge Project.

Det. Sgt Jennifer Molony, NBCI, Ireland
Jennifer Molony works for the Sex Offender Management and Intelligence Unit, NBCI, An Garda Síochána

Dr. Ruth Kevlin, Irish Prison Service, Ireland
Ruth Kevlin is a Senior Psychologist with the Irish Prison Service based at Wheatfield Prison

Dr. Ineke Pruin, University of Greifswald, Germany
Ineke Pruin is Associate of Prof. Dr. Frieder Dünkel, assisting with information collation and review

Gov. Ethel Gavin, Governor, Loughan House Open Prison, Ireland
Ethel Gavin works for the Loughan House Open Prison and is a project team member

Gerry McNally, Probation Service, Ireland
Gerry McNally is assistant director at the Probation Service and is a project team member


Questionnaires on National Situations

Case Studies on National Situations

Presentations on National Situations

  • Comparative Analysis of Questionnaire [PDF]
JUST/2011-2012/JPEN/AG/2943 Workshop 2 met in Dublin on 12th - 15th June 2013 to review existing systems of transition management practice in the partner countries. An invitation and programme was circulated to all project partners, nominated expert from the Probation Service, Irish Prison Service, An Garda Siochana, Homelessness Service, Health Service Executive and relevant NGOs.

Invited workshop participants were identified as experts experienced in working with prisoners in custody, prisoners preparing for release, post custody supervision and service provision and relevant other experts. Participants were nominated by their organisation or invited as experts by the organisers.

In the course of the workshop there were valuable presentations, informed and detailed discussions on the issues and challenges arising and a fruitful exchange of knowledge, expertise and approaches.

It was agreed in the course of a partner meeting prior the workshop that the definition of high risk for the purpose of the project should be revised to include reference to a violent and sexual offender to avoid any possible misunderstanding by readers and other interests. The revised definition now reads:

“A high risk offender (a violent or sexual offender) is someone who presents a high probability to commit crimes which may cause very serious personal, physical or psychological harm.”

Identifying who is high risk and how they are evaluated was a key topic of discussion throughout the workshop presentations and discussions. What is done with the information to address the issues in prison, in transition and on release was explored. The risk that an individual could be labelled as ‘high risk’ attracting increased security and related attention while neglecting interventions to reduce that risk was acknowledged and highlighted as a priority for action in the project.

The role of NGO/community based services working in prisons was identified as valuable in supporting the transition phase and continuing a supportive engagement in the community after release. It was highlighted as an area that could be promoted and development in the course of this project.

The importance of co-operation, engagement and co-ordination between the criminal justice agencies and mainstream social service providers in prison and in the community was highlighted as important in developing good and effective practice. It helped, in particular, in preparing the services and prisoners on release to continue engagement in a positive and less distrusting or hostile manner. It assisted ‘joined-up’ service provision and easier access by ex-prisoners.

The development of a relationship, open communication and a level of mutual trust between the services, supervisors, in particular, and the offender was highlighted as valuable in sustaining the transition, coping with unexpected and other difficulties that can arise and reducing the risk of relapse. This was viewed as an area where skills training practice could be shared between partners.

From the JCN papers to-date, the workshop presentations and the discussions, it was clear that the partners shared common goals and understanding of sentence, transition and post custody management steps and stages. It was also evident that there were differences in how the processes are implemented and managed in practice.

It was agreed that the project has made significant progress to date in establishing a common awareness of shared issues in the transition management of high risk offenders, identified existing practices, opportunities for learning and room for improvement.

It was acknowledged that there was considerable evidence of good practice, knowledge and expertise among the partners to proceed to the next workshop to identify best practice.