Under the Northern Ireland Office's PSA target of Making Communities Safer, the Department is committed to reduce re-offending in Northern Ireland. While much is being done to address re-offending across the criminal justice system, a cross-government strategic approach is essential to making significant inroads into level of re-offending. To achieve this joined-up approach:
An Inter-Ministerial Group is being established—the NIO has secured agreement from OFMDFM to the establishment of a Ministerial Group on Reducing Offending to promote a cross departmental approach and ensure that a coherent, coordinated strategy is adopted to all aspects of offending;
A women offenders strategy is under development—a specific approach to women offenders is being progressed through a women’s strategy. As part of this initiative, a pilot women’s centre has been established to develop appropriate assessment tools and programmes focused on sustaining and supporting women offenders in the community;
Offenders learning and skills deficits are being addressed—the MO, in partnership with the Departments of Education and Employment and Learning, is establishing a Learning and Skills Forum. The forum will focus on making better use of existing education and skills training to provide a more joined up service for existing offenders and young people at risk of offending.