A PROGRAMME for male inmates with children, which has been piloted at Limerick Prison, could decrease their chances of re-offending.
Over the past 18 months, the Family Links programme worked with prisoners and their families to develop improved relationships between the inmates, their partners and their children.
As part of the pilot initiative, a more family-supportive environment was also developed within the prison itself.
The programme, which was evaluated by academics from the University of Limerick, included 15 families with 28 children, whose father was in prison.
In their evaluation report Professor Orla Muldoon and Daragh Bradshaw cited international research which shows that maintaining imprisoned fathers’ contact with their partners and children can reduce re-offending and protect vulnerable children from criminal careers.
Director General of the Irish Prison Service Michael Donnellan has welcomed the publication of the evaluation report.
“An evidence based approach to improving prisoners’ relationship with their families, and the role model which fathers provide for their children, will reduce criminality and ultimately be of great benefit to society,” he said.
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