The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD has published the Probation Service Annual Report for 2011 which shows a 40 percent increase in the number of Community Service Orders made (2,738 in 2011 up from 1,972 in 2010) with 795 same day Community Service Reports made. It also highlights an increase of 39 percent in the total number of Community Service hours ordered in lieu of custody (420,836 in 2011 from 303,210 in 2010) and a 17 percent increase in the total number of years that would have been served (1,035 in 2011 from 882 in 2010).
The Minister also announced the appointment of Mr Vivian Geiran as the new Director of the Probation Service to replace Mr Michael Donnellan. Mr Geiran, a qualified social worker, is currently Director of Operations in the Probation Service having joined the Probation Service twenty-five years ago as a Probation Officer.
Speaking on the report, the Minister said: “many Probation interventions provide an opportunity for offenders to repair the harm done in their community by their offending behaviour. I am particularly pleased to see an increase in the use of community service. The Criminal Justice (Community Service) (Amendment) Act 2011 enacted in July 2011 and commenced on 1 October 2011, requires judges when considering imposing a sentence of imprisonment of twelve months or less to first consider the appropriateness of community service as an alternative to imprisonment. Community Service benefits local communities, reduces public expenditure on prison services and requires convicted offenders to make recompense for their crimes. The Service will continue to have my full support in making greater use of community service as an alternative to imprisonment.”
Announcing the appointment Minister Shatter said, Mr Geiran brings a wealth of experience to the job which has been gained from his previous roles in an organisation that has wholeheartedly embraced change and adapted to the range of challenges that have faced it in modern times.”