Sex offenders treatment programmes


In April 2009, the Sex Offender Management Policy – Reducing Re-offending, Enhancing Public Safety (pdf) was announced. It concerns therapeutic interventions with sex offenders while they are in prison. The policy is aimed at bringing about changes in offenders' lives that reduce the risk of re-offending. Some of the initiatives announced had already been introduced.

Under the policy Arbour Hill Prison is designated as the national centre for imprisoned sex offenders with a full range of therapeutic interventions available. Midlands Prison and Wheatfield Place of Detention are designated as satellite centres where a narrower range of therapeutic interventions are available. Prisoners committed initially to other prisons are transferred to the satellite centres unless exceptional circumstances prevail.

Therapeutic interventions

There is a range of therapeutic interventions.

Structured clinical assessments

Sex offenders are assessed soon after committal and this assessment influences all subsequent therapeutic interventions. Re-assessment can take place during the sentence, where appropriate.

One-to-one therapeutic interventions

Individual therapeutic work serves a number of functions, including:

  • Support for offenders in their early commitment to change
  • Support for the integration and extension of progress made in group work
  • Addressing the risks and needs of offenders who are unable to undertake group programmes

Offence-related therapeutic group interventions

The Building Better Lives sex offender programme started in 2009. It is made up of 3 components:

  • The Exploring Better Lives programme aims to develop motivation and confidence about positive change
  • The Practising Better Lives programme focuses on obtaining a more detailed understanding of past offending and developing positive offence-free self-management plans for the future
  • The Maintaining Better Lives programme aims to support ongoing progress and development for men who are serving longer sentences in prison and to ensure a throughcare plan from prison to community-based supports

In-reach services

In-reach services uses the potential of community-based services to provide interventions within the prison environment. An example is the motivational enhancement groups operated by the Granada Institute in the Midlands and Wheatfield prisons. The purpose of the motivational intervention is to help participants explore the potential benefits of therapeutic engagement.

Further information

Further information on the management of sex offenders in prison is available from the Irish Prison Service.

Irish Prison Service

IDA Business Park
Ballinalee Road
Co. Longford

Tel: (043) 333 5100
Fax: (043) 333 5371

Department of Justice and Equality

94 St. Stephen's Green
Dublin 2

Tel: (01) 602 8202
Locall: 1890 221 227
Fax: (01) 661 5461
Page edited: 16 July 2015