The Gate Service is a unique and established intervention that provides individualised life-course plans, supports and placements that realise the goals of the prisoner. The overall object of the Gate Service is to help prisoners imagine an alternative life course that does not include offending, that identifies a specific pathway to change and identifies the necessary supports to achieve that change. As such it is a desistance focused intervention that uses training, education and employment as the means to both imagine change, in the first instance, and then realise that change in the incremental steps taken by the prisoner while still in custody and continued into the community. The Gate Service is a through-the-gate service that directly links each referred prisoner to essential opportunities in the community. It is the means of positive change for those referred prisoners and also it is the most direct link the IPS has to training, education and employment placements in the community. As such it is a direct means to achieve the current IPS strategy statement goals of enhancing employment opportunities and promoting constructive and structured engagement with prison based services.
The GATE Service is a unique prison based ‘through-the-gate’ guidance service that provides individuals with opportunities for change on committal and fosters stable reintegration following release. The objectives of the GATE Service are as follows:
- To develop a trusting environment for referred people to explore alternative life courses
- To develop the referred person’s knowledge of training and education provision in the prison and the community
- To develop the referred person’s knowledge of employment opportunities and their requirements in the community
- To develop the referred person’s sense of possibility and understanding of the barriers that exist
- To develop alternative options for prisoners on release from prison, e.g. in employment, training and education
- To promote the constructive use of prison based training and education opportunities
- To deepen the referred person’s motivation and commitment to change
- To develop the reintegration capacity of each prison
- To inspire hope
The Resettlement Service
The Resettlement Service is a one-to-one intervention whereby the Resettlement Coordinator co-develops an effective resettlement plan with the prisoner that addresses their needs as they leave prison. The intervention takes place as part of a prison based multi-disciplinary management and review system and includes networking among essential community based services to stabilise, as much as is possible, the prisoner’s return to the community.
The intervention is open to all offence categories and offender groups and ideally starts following referral with a period of assessment and planning that identifies the individual resettlement needs of each prisoner. From that a plan is co-developed with the prisoner that addresses each identified need by providing direct support with housing applications, welfare provision and other essential supports. It is the RC that liaises with housing authorities and manages housing applications on behalf of the prisoner, as well as other applications such as for medical cards and social welfare supports. The intervention continues through-the-gate for those deemed suitable and willing to engage with the Service, so as to extend the support as much as possible from the prison to the community.
The objectives of the Resettlement Service are as follows:
- To provide a range of resettlement services to prisoners referred from prison based agencies and personnel, but primarily from ISM officers;
- To assist each referred prisoner in their access to housing, welfare, medical and other supports pre and post the prisoner’s release;
- To enhance the resettlement capacity of each participant prison and the IPS more generally through service provision and the maintenance of IPS administrative systems such as Integrated Planning;
- To provide a contact point, or conduit, between the IPS and other state agencies, such as County Councils and Department of Social Protection (DSP) offices in the resettlement of referred prisoners
- To encourage change, stability and ultimately desistance, for each referred prisoner through the co-development of effective resettlement plans and importantly to inspire hope.