Transforming lives through timely, effective decision-making about offenders
A clearer view of offender data and trends helps the Irish Probation Service make more informed decisions about the rehabilitation of about 15,000 offenders a year.
The Irish Probation Service plays a crucial role in reducing crime rates by changing offender behaviour and lowering the risk of reoffending. As well as working with around 15,000 offenders a year, the Service works with other Department of Justice agencies to understand the outcomes of punishments and develop effective interventions that reduce crime, transform lives and make communities safer.
Being able to collect, review and analyse diverse information about offenders and offending behaviour is central to the Service's success. It has 395 staff in 40 offices across Ireland with a caseload of approximately 10,000 offenders at any point in time, and provides funding to more than 60 community-based rehabilitation projects. The Service uses SAS to integrate and process information from these sources and for research and trend analyses that help it make informed decisions about offender rehabilitation.
By facilitating research and reports that weren’t possible before, SAS supports the Probation Service in making effective decisions that reduce the risk of reoffending, protect the public and improve thousands of lives.
Statistician in the Service’s Information and Statistics Unit (ISU)
As Aidan Gormley, statistician in the Service's Information and Statistics Unit (ISU) explains: "Previously our manual systems made it very time-consuming to process and integrate all the information to provide the Service with timely, detailed reports. We didn't have the capacity to run monthly reports – let alone support valuable research or cross-departmental initiatives that reduce crime."
Using SAS, the ISU automates many standard reporting jobs – such as management reports and risk analyses – reducing the time it takes to compile them. Reports can be more detailed, giving management and case workers a deeper understanding of the individuals in their care. Trend analyses and graphs can also be included, making it easier for management to interpret data, understand the factors affecting the effectiveness of sanctions such as community service, and make effective decisions about actions and resource allocation.
Because SAS enables the ISU to produce regular reports more efficiently, the unit is free to support the Probation Service with research and new initiatives that are vital in reducing reoffending and improving lives. For example, the Service has successfully introduced a Community Returns programme, which involves identifying qualifying prisoners for an incentivised early release, supporting them and monitoring their progress.
SAS has also aided greater collaboration between the Service and other agencies, enabling the sharing and harmonisation of data. This has underpinned some key research: for example, a joint longitudinal study by the Probation Service, Central Statistics Office and Irish Prison Service into the factors that affect reoffending and the long-term outcomes of sanctions.
"By facilitating research and reports that weren't possible before, SAS supports the Probation Service in making effective decisions that reduce the risk of reoffending, protect the public and – ultimately – improve thousands of lives," concludes Gormley.
Ireland’s Probation Service needed to be able to report on and understand information on around 15,000 offenders a year to drive effective decisions about their rehabilitation, reduce the risk of reoffending, and make communities safer.
SAS® Enterprise Guide 4.2
- Comprehensive insights into factors that affect the risk of reoffending.
- Sharing data and collaboration by the Irish Probation Service and other agencies made this level of insight possible.
- Data driven decision-making allows the Service to allocate resources in the most efficient way and track progress with offenders.