Community Support Scheme

Director of Services (Care After Prison) Michael Donnellan (Director General of Irish Prison Service)

In May 2013, Care After Prison was awarded a contract from the Irish Prison Service to act as a linkage service for the newly established Community Support Scheme (CSS) initiative. This Scheme was developed in collaboration with the Probation Service in response to prison overcrowding and aims to address the recidivism levels of prisoners serving sentences of between 3 and 12 months.

The objectives of this Scheme are to reduce the level of crime and to increase public safety by:

  1. Identifying suitable candidates serving a short terms sentence between 3-12 months;
  2. Working on care plans of support for these offenders and prepare them for release;
  3. Working with offenders to change behaviour and reduce offending behaviour’s by linking the offender in with relevant support services through a Community Based Organisation (CBO) before release.
  4. Monitoring progress or regression of persons on the scheme while on their sentence.

The aim of the Community Support Scheme is to increase support for prisoners prior during their release from prison, upon their release, and then for a period after their release in order to break the cycle of offending. Care After Prison’s role in the Community Support Scheme CAP support workers and prison based staff engage with these prisoners shortly after committal to identify their risk factors, make appropriate referrals and prepare a sentence management plan in each case.

Care After Prison attends weekly meetings with the Irish Prison Service to achieve the following aims:

  1. Jointly assess an individual’s suitability for participation in the Community Support Scheme -This includes a risk assessment carried out by Care After Prison;
  2. Highlight any concerns around service users not linking in with Care After Prison;
  3. Acknowledge the progress that service users have made to date.