IASIO is aware that lack of coordination between agencies in the criminal justice system can result in an increased risk of offenders leaving prison without any connection to support services and assistance from government agencies and community organisations. With this in mind, IASIO hopes to continue to develop co-operative partnerships with the Irish Prison Service (IPS) to form interventions that mobilise all available resources to assist clients within the prison estate.
An example of an initiative linking IASIO with the IPS took place in 2014. At the request of the Irish Prison Service, IASIO staff facilitated Psychometric Assessment Workshops for ten prisoners in Cloverhill Prison. Assessing and appraising client characteristics is a highly complex process, but psychometric tests are an evidenced based method of objectively assessing these traits and characteristics.
From exploring future direction, to long-term career development, these tests provide a great deal of reliable information to assist service users in making important personal decisions.
The workshops were carried out one day per week for six weeks in the prison. Assessments used in the workshops included Verbal Ability, Numerical Ability and Abstract Reasoning tests along with a Personality Assessment which proved very popular with the prisoners.
The Workshop included an in-depth feedback session with each prisoner and also focused on developing individual post release plans for participants which were informed by the results of their assessments.
Building Collaborative Bridges—IASIO GATE Service & Irish Prison Service Initiative using Psychometric Assessments
In a ceremony to celebrate the successful outcome for participants, the Governor presented each prisoner with a certificate of attendance following the final Workshop. Overall, the group assessment format was a huge success and corroborated IASIO’s previous findings that group assessments are the most efficient and effective method of delivering psychometrics within the prison estate, as it offers a greater reach to all prisoners in a much shorter timeframe.
Successful initiatives such as this encourage agents in the criminal justice system and community based organisations to collaborate and consider the impact of their individual responsibilities in a broader strategy regarding clients. IASIO is hopeful that collaborations such as this can be replicated across the prison estate in future.