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Probation Service. (2022) Probation Service annual report 2021. Dublin: Probation Service.

PDF (Probation service 2021)

A key feature of the 2021 Annual Report was the launch of the Probation Service Strategy Statement: ‘Community Works for Community Safety’ which outlines its strategic priorities over a three year period. The Report shows that significant progress has been made in year one of the Strategy with more than 60 per cent of its 106 associated actions confirmed as started and on track for completion. Another important area of focus for the Probation Service in 2021 highlighted in the report was the use of community sanctions in appropriate circumstances and delivering greater impact in areas such as social inclusion and reintegration. This included a comprehensive review of management structures which was completed in December 2021.

Key 2021 statistics

  • In 2021, the Probation Service dealt with 15,448 offenders in the community and 2,730 offenders in prison.
  • The Probation Service completed 10,013 Probation Assessment Reports and 2,044 Community Service Assessment Reports.
  • The 1,360 Community Service Orders for 2021 totals 203,306 hours work in lieu of 713 years in prison. This equates to over €2 million worth of unpaid work for the benefit of communities nationwide.
  • The number of Community Service Orders (CSOs) managed by the Service increased by 17% compared to 2020. Despite this increase, CSO numbers have not yet pre-pandemic levels due to continued disruption to the work of the Courts Service in early 2021.
  • 15.5% (1,273) of new referrals in 2021 were female.
  • The Probation Service supervised 584 young persons in 2021.

Top 6 offences resulting in referrals to the Probation Service (representing 77% of all referrals)
1. Drug Offences
2. Assault
3. Public Order
4. Road Traffic
5. Burglary
6. Theft

PDF page 24 

Drugs & alcohol misuse research
The Probation Service commissioned a research report Informing & Supporting Change: Drug and Alcohol Misuse among People on Probation Supervision in Ireland which was authored by Dr. Louise Rooney, UCD and launched by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, TD at an online event in November 2021. Building on previous research, the study identifies substance misuse prevalence among people on probation supervision, examines the relationship between substance misuse behaviour and offending, and explores the engagement of people supervised as well as the Probation Service response. The research was supported by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). 

The report finds that 81% of Probation Service clients reported misusing drugs and/or alcohol at some point in their lifetime. The highest prevalence rates of combined drug and alcohol misuse were observed for clients aged 25–34. A link between alcohol and current offence was reported for 53% of the sample; the link between drug misuse and current offence was reported for 48% of the sample. The report highlights that the Probation Service represents a critical point at which assessment, intervention and appropriate referral can take place as part of the care pathway. In response the Probation Service has developed a detailed work plan which addresses the report’s core recommendations. 

The Probation Service continued to have representation on the National Oversight Committee tasked with the implementation of National Substance Misuse Strategy ‘Reducing Harm – Supporting Recovery’ (2017-2025) and will have representation on a number of the newly established Strategic Implementation Groups. The Probation Service is also represented on the Drug Related Intimidation & Violence Engagement (DRIVE) Oversight Committee. The committee is an interagency group with representatives from the Regional and Local Drug & Alcohol Task Forces, HSE Social Inclusion, An Garda Síochána, Probation Service, community & voluntary sector and Family Support. DRIVE is funded through the Strand 3 funding initiative within the office of Frank Feighan, TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Substance Misuse Strategy. It is focused on building the capacity of communities to respond to drug related intimidation and violence. The research report setting out a national data driven model to respond to drug related intimidation and violence in communities was subsequently launched in November 2021.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Crime prevention
September 2022
76 p.
Probation Service
Corporate Creators
Probation Service
Place of Publication
Related (external) link

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