Sunday 27 May 2018

114 sex offenders on garda watchlist after jail release

Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Minister Frances Fitzgerald

There are 114 sex offenders living in communities across the country who are being monitored.

According to figures released by the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, the largest concentration of any released sex offenders subject to post-release supervision is in the west and north west, where 30 are living.

In a written Dail reply to Fianna Fail's Justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan, Ms Fitzgerald confirmed that a further 28 are living in the Dublin north and north-east region, with 22 living in the Dublin south and Wicklow region.

In her reply, Ms Fitzgerald confirmed that a further 17 are living in the south-west area with a further 17 living in the Midlands and south east.

In the US, under the so-called Megan's Law, state authorities disclose to the public the addresses of freed sex offenders and the crimes they have been convicted of.

In the UK, under Sarah's Law, parents can ask the police if someone, who might have contact with their children, has a criminal record for child sex offences.

However, a study last year showed that just one-in-six applications was successful, with police citing vigilantism fears for withholding details.

No such provision exists in Irish law relating to the gardai having to disclose the addresses of freed convicted sex offenders.

Around 1,000 sex offenders are obliged to give local gardai their address and notify them when moving - however, post-supervision orders go a step further where they require offenders to undergo psychological counselling or other treatment.

Those sex offenders who breach post-release supervision conditions are liable to prison terms not exceeding 12 months.

Ms Fitzgerald said that figures relating to non compliance of supervision orders are not readily available.

In a separate reply to Deputy O'Callaghan, Ms Fitzgerald confirmed that there is currently one sex offender and three killers on temporary release.

Earlier this month, the Irish Prison Service (IPS) confirmed that only 19 of the 60 sex offenders to be released from Irish jails for the remainder of this year are engaged in the Irish Prison Service's sex offenders' treatment programme, called Building Better Lives (BBL).

There are around 400 individuals convicted of sexual violence in the Irish prison system at any one time.

The low numbers of sex offenders being treated is underlined with figures from the IPS showing that of the 67 sex offenders released to date in 2016, just 25 have engaged in the BBL programme.


In addition, the Probation Service has engaged or is currently engaging in offence-related work including risk management work with 25 men in the Midlands prison.

The IPS also confirmed that of the total number of individuals convicted of sexual violence in custody at present, approximately half of them will be required to participate in post-release supervision.

The remainder have notification requirements to An Garda Siochana.

A statement from the IPS stated that only those men convicted of sexual violence who admit their offence are accepted on to the national treatment programme for sex offenders.

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