Home > Annual report of the Interagency Group for a Fairer and Safer Ireland 2020.

Interagency Group for a Fairer and Safer Ireland. (2021) Annual report of the Interagency Group for a Fairer and Safer Ireland 2020. Dublin: Department of Justice and Equality.

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The Penal Policy Review Group (PPRG) conducted a wide ranging strategic review of penal policy, taking into account relevant work already carried out in this jurisdiction and elsewhere, the rights of those convicted of crimes, the perspective of those who are victims of crime, and the interests of society in general. The PPRG advocated an approach to crime and the penal system which emphasised rehabilitation and advocated for an improved penal system, the reduction of reliance on imprisonment as a sanction, and an increased focus on alternatives to prison. A strong thread running through all of its recommendations is the need to see the wider social context of offending, and to ensure that the work of the criminal justice agencies is integrated with social services, broadly conceived.

An Implementation Oversight Group (IOG) was established to oversee implementation of the Penal Policy Review Group’s recommendations. The two key recommendations of the Review Group Report relevant to the work of the Interagency Group are recommendations 3 and 41 below. These recommendations promote inter agency and inter departmental cooperation, on the basis that crime is a matter of social as well as penal policy.

  • Recommendation 3 - The Review Group recommends that there must be greater emphasis, if necessary through legislation, on promoting inter-agency cooperation in the management and rehabilitation of offenders. In addition to the criminal justice agencies, there is a need to recognise that a whole-of Government approach is required in collaboration with relevant agencies and local authorities in addressing offending behaviour and assisting offenders in maintaining crime free lives.
  • Recommendation 41 - The Review Group recognises that crime is a question of social as well as penal policy and recommends that all Government departments and agencies consider the question of crime prevention when formulating policy. In this regard, the Review Group recommends that the Department of Justice and Equality join with all Government Departments and agencies to facilitate and support research in order to assist in the formulation of penal policy.

The rationale for the Interagency Group is that crime is a challenge for all of society and requires a whole-of-society response. Crime is associated with many social problems such as economic deprivation, unemployment, low levels of educational achievement and substance misuse. Society suffers as a result of crime and everyone has an interest in preventing crime; it is not just the responsibility of criminal justice agencies. The socio-economic factors which may be involved when someone goes to jail are the same factors which need to be addressed when he or she comes out of prison. That is to say, many people convicted of criminal offences have similar characteristics and deficits, which have contributed to their offending, and issues that are likely to inhibit them leading lives free of crime and predispose them to re-offending.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Crime prevention, Rehabilitation/Recovery
23 December 2021
28 p.
Department of Justice and Equality
Corporate Creators
Interagency Group for a Fairer and Safer Ireland
Place of Publication
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