The Probation Board for Northern Ireland and NIACRO have partnered to establish a mentoring service for men and women being released from custody to assist in their resettlement into the community. The project ‘Transitions’ is available to men over 30 and women leaving custody. It will provide assistance to people in the 16 weeks after release which we know from research can be the most difficult for people as they transition from custody to the community.
PBNI Assistant Directory Gillian Montgomery commented: “The overall aim of the Transitions programme is to reduce offending, improve community safety, and at an individual level, to improve resettlements and reduce the potential for return to custody for those transitioning from custody back into their community.
“The Transitions programme will provide a one-to-one, tailored mentoring service to people (men and women) being released from custody who will be facing significant difficulties upon release. These significant difficulties –e.g. accommodation, finances, family and community relationships, health/addictions) if unresolved are likely to increase the likelihood of people being returned to custody, on account of re-offending or other breaches of licence conditions.”
Gareth Eannetta from NIACRO added: “NIACRO are delighted to be working in partnership with PBNI on this programme. We know from research and evidence that achieving stable accommodation, finances, health, and tackling substance misuse will support desistance from crime. This mentoring programme will provide practical support to help people live stable lives in the community.”
Gillian Montgomery concluded: “By helping individuals to achieve stability in essential life areas, Transitions has the potential to contribute to a reduction in re-offending and reduce recall to prison rates. It is part of our overall approach of changing lives for safer communities.”