Home > An evidence review of community service policy, practice and structure.

Kennefick, Louise and Guilfoyle, Eoin (2022) An evidence review of community service policy, practice and structure. Dublin: Probation Service.

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The Community Service Order (‘CSO’) was introduced to Ireland in 1983 as an alternative to custody in order to address concerns relating to prison overcrowding and rising crime rates. International consensus on the null to criminogenic effects of prison on reoffending rates has renewed calls for decarceration. At the same time, the evidence reviewed shows that community service results in lower recidivism rates and more positive outcomes for those who have offended and their community, when compared with short-term prison sentences. Notwithstanding these findings, the CSO remains underutilised in this jurisdiction. The purpose of this review is to evaluate research findings and knowledge from peer-reviewed journals, national and international policy materials, reports, and publications relating to community service spanning the key areas of strategic innovation, operational practice, legal structure, impact, evaluation and related developments. The recommendations contained in this report are intended to provide broad guidance to the Probation Service in the development of community service in Ireland, and to highlight key areas that require further investigation.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
December 2022
108 p.
Probation Service
Place of Publication
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