Theft and drugs top list of offences dealt with by Probation Service

Number of offenders dealt with by the service rose marginally in 2019, annual report shows

Former Probation Service director Vivian Guerin, who retired during the year. Photograph Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

Former Probation Service director Vivian Guerin, who retired during the year. Photograph Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

The number of offenders dealt with by the Probation Service rose marginally last year with more than a fifth of cases related to theft.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee released the Probation Service Annual Report 2019 on Wednesday. The Probation Service is an agency within the Department of Justice which is aimed at helping offenders desist from committing more crime.

The report shows that the service dealt with 16,607 in the community last year, which was up from 15,777 and 15,269 the year before. It also dealt with 2,689 offenders in prison.

A breakdown of all referrals shows the top offences were theft (21.1 per cent); drugs (17.6 per cent); assault (14.5 per cent); public order (10.9 per cent); road traffic (10.8 per cent); burglary (6.8 per cent); dangerous acts (4.2 per cent); and property offences (3.7 per cent)

More than 12,500 probation reports and over 3,500 community service assessments were completed. The 2,791 community service orders for 2019 totals 379,815 hours work in lieu of 1,247 years in prison.

This equates to over €3.5 million worth of unpaid work for the benefit of communities nationwide.

The report notes that 16.2 per cent (1,716) of new referrals were female in 2019. Separately, it supervised 581 young people.

Ms McEntee welcomed publication of the report. “The Probation Service is an important agency of the Department of Justice and Equality, committed to achieving the high-level goals of the department in working to reduce crime levels through offender rehabilitation, with a view to creating safer communities and fewer victims,” she said.

“Interagency co-operation and collaboration between the Probation Service and other criminal justice partners has made a significant contribution in 2019 in making our streets, homes, businesses and communities more secure.”

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