Tag Archives: alcohol

PBNI Probation Board for Northern Ireland


The Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) is partnering with ‘ASCERT’,  a Northern Ireland based charity, to provide a ‘Rapid Response Addiction Service’ to people under probation supervision.

The purpose of this partnership, which will commence at the beginning of November, is to ensure there is a ‘Rapid Response Service’ so that service users presenting in crisis can be referred to a support service for counselling or intervention within 48 hours for initial support and assessment. They will then be offered a 12-week intervention and support programme tailored to the needs of the individual.

The project will target males and females from the age of 18 and above who are subject to Probation supervision. Funding is currently available to work with 300 people.

Probation Assistant Director, Stephen Hamilton commented: “76% of people assessed by PBNI have an Alcohol or Drugs Offending Related Problem. There is a well-established link between drugs, alcohol and crime. In fact, one of the biggest factors that influences whether someone will reoffend is their use of drugs and alcohol. Therefore, tackling this type of behaviour is a priority for probation.  It is really important that we are able to quickly respond to crisis situations at whatever time they occur and we believe that this new partnership will help us respond to those in crisis and ultimately rehabilitate people and prevent then re-offending in the future.”

“Many of the people we work with have complex needs, such as drug and alcohol addiction combined with chaotic personal lifestyles, homelessness, mental health issues, and deficits in family and community support. We hope that the interventions provided will also help to impact on some of the related issues.“

ASCERT Chief Executive, Gary McMichael said: “ASCERT provides services across Northern Ireland that address the impact of alcohol and drugs related issues. We are committed to ensuring individuals, families and communities are supported in the most effective way to deal with the challenges they face. It is important that when people with addiction issues are at a point of crisis they can get the right help quickly in order to stabilise the situation and avoid things becoming uncontrollable, but that can be difficult because of waiting times for services. This partnership with PBNI is an innovative project that will ensure that its service users can get support at the time when they really need it.”


The Probation Board for Northern Ireland is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) of the Department of Justice.

For further information, please contact PBNI Communications Office on Mobile: 07979758011/ 07584362190.

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Probation’s Intensive Programme Challenges Criminal Behaviour related to Drugs And Alcohol

Over the Christmas period we know that sale and consumption of alcohol increases. It is timely to remember the impact that alcohol and drug abuse can have on people’s lives.

PBNI’s Director of Rehabilitation, Dr Geraldine O’Hare stated:

“Within Probation 76% of people who are on supervision are assessed as having an alcohol or drug offending related problem. That means that drug or alcohol abuse directly contributed to their offending behaviour. There is a well-established link between drugs, alcohol and crime.   In fact, one of the biggest factors that influences whether someone will reoffend is their use of drugs and alcohol.

“In order to tackle this problem, Probation has a range of interventions and programmes which directly address substance misuse. This includes a new ‘Substance Misuse Court’, which challenges offenders to tackle their drug and alcohol misuse, which has been launched at Belfast Magistrates’ Court. The new Substance Misuse Court pilot allows the Judge to refer offenders, who have been convicted of an offence related to their alcohol or drugs misuse, to an intensive treatment-focused behavioural change programme before sentencing.

“International evidence suggests that this type of intensive treatment is a more effective intervention to rehabilitate offenders in cases where substance misuse is the underlying problem. The programme is delivered by the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) in partnership with Addiction NI. It is part of the Department of Justice’s approach to problem solving justice.”


For further information, please contact PBNI Communications Office on T: 028 90262400 or M: 07825897955/07979758011