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.
PROBATION SEEKS VIEWS OF PUBLIC ON DELIVERY OF SERVICES
Today the Probation Board for Northern Ireland is seeking the public’s views on how to help shape the future of probation services in NI. This consultation is part of the development of PBNI’s Corporate Plan for 2020-23 which will set out the strategic direction for the organisation over the next three years.
Chair of the Board Dale Ashford commented: “PBNI is committed to engaging with communities and stakeholders to inform them of our role in tackling offending, leading in reducing reoffending and rehabilitation, working effectively and efficiently in order to deliver ‘smarter justice’.
“This plan provides an important opportunity for us to hear from stakeholders and communities about the services that are being delivered. PBNI has been innovative, collaborative, and responsive in meeting the challenges of the last number of years. Looking forward, this Board wants to create the circumstances for the organisation to thrive and develop further because in doing so, it will mean fewer people will reoffend and there will be fewer victims of crime. We need your views to help us do that,” he added.
PBNI Chief Executive Cheryl Lamont stated: “The plan aims to build on the strong foundations which have been laid in developing effective probation assessments and interventions, alternatives to short prison sentences, a problem solving approach to justice and direct work with victims of crime.”
Ms Lamont continued: “Many of those subject to probation supervision have serious addictions and mental health problems. Dealing with these issues and facilitating change is resource intensive. 76% of people under probation supervision in Northern Ireland have an alcohol or drug-related problem. Likewise there are high numbers of people on probation supervision assessed as having mental health problems. it is necessary for PBNI to continue to think about how it delivers its service into the future. This includes looking at international best practice, considering technological advancements that can assist our work and enhancing our partnership work with organisations and across communities.”
Chair of Probation Dale Ashford concluded: “This consultation provides an opportunity for stakeholders to inform and shape probation in the future. It provides an opportunity for all those with an interest in probation to help us ensure the organisation is fit for purpose, effective and efficient in the coming years. Most importantly, it provides an opportunity for everyone in NI to have a say in how probation can contribute towards making every community safer.”
This consultation is open until the end of October 2019 and further information can be found at https://www.pbni.org.uk/guide-information/make-decisions/current-consultations/