FAFab Labs have already demonstrated that they have a role to play in Criminal Justice. The engagement with learning and the digital skills that Fab Labs offer makes them a potentially powerful tool in diversionary, inmate based and post-release training and rehabilitation programmes. The potential for product development and self-employment that digital manufacturing provides, adds a powerful further incentive for a client group who face severe challenges in employability.
In Northern Ireland pilot programmes have taken place in 2016 in Burren House and Maghaberry Prison in 2017, involving pre- and post-release inmates. The pilot programmes delivered strong outcomes around engagement, empowerment and accredited skills-acquisition. A case study of the Maghaberry project can be viewed here:
These are the first Fablab programmes in the world to be delivered inside Prison environments.
In Waterford, the U-Casadh project was established in 2008 to deliver outcomes to beneficiaries within the criminal justice system. In 2016, a Fab Lab was added to a wider programme of upskilling for ex-prisoners and those at risk of offending. The Fab Lab is offering a new range of digital skills, with social enterprise outcomes, to clients. http://www.ucasadh.ie/