Thursday, 26 March 2009 - Councillor Patricia McCarthy has welcomed the Government’s announcement that the electronic monitoring of high-risk sex offenders was currently under examination.
The Independent Member of Clare County Council noted that any measures taken to monitor identified high-risk sex offenders after their release from imprisonment would be welcomed by society at large. The proposal is one of a number of measures being looked at by the Government to deal with the management of convicted sex offenders.
Councillor McCarthy added that the scheduled introduction of new laws on the period for registration by convicted sex offenders represented another significant step forward.
“I welcome the announcement by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern that convicted sex offenders will be allowed only three days instead of seven before they must register with Gardaí upon release from prison or arrival in the country. While I do believe that this period should be shortened even further, it does signify a significant step forward in tightening legislation in this area,” she stated.
Commenting on the range of other measures being proposed, Councillor McCarthy said, “Many people are unaware that practically all sex offenders are released at some point. Therefore, I am delighted to learn that standardised, evidence-based risk assessments specifically designed for sex offenders will be introduced with the aim of assessing the risk level of all convicted sex offenders. It is reassuring to see that the results of assessments will be shared as appropriate between the Gardaí, the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service.”
The measures are outlined in a discussion document, entitled ‘The Management of Sex Offenders’. The document reviews the existing situation regarding the management of sex offenders, puts forward proposals for future developments, and invites contributions and observations.
Among the other measures being proposed is the risk assessment of all sex offenders in prison for the purpose of determining the appropriate interventions in prison so as to inform plans for their release back into the community following completion of their sentence. Furthermore, all sex offenders registered with the Gardaí will also be assessed. The purpose of risk assessment is to identify the higher risk sex offenders, determine the appropriate interventions and the level of monitoring that may be required. In the case of every person convicted of a sexual offence, the sentencing court will be offered a risk assessment for the offender. The aim is to ensure courts have better information when deciding on sentences and any post release supervision.
”I am sure communities across the country will welcome these proposals. For many years, community and public representatives have sought legislation that provides the Gardaí and the Probation Service with sufficient powers and resources to monitor convicted sex offenders in the community,” concluded Councillor McCarthy.
Note to Editor:
- Cllr Patricia McCarthy may be contacted at 087-4187132
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