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Youth Justice Reform

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					Youth Justice Reform

   An NGO Perspective from the
   Irish Youth Justice Alliance

   Jillian van Turnhout




              Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Irish Youth Justice Alliance
 Objectives:
 •   To work towards reforming the youth justice
     system by promoting practices that are in line
     with international human rights standards
 •   To advocate for the full and immediate
     implementation & adequate resourcing of the
     Children Act 2001, and
 •   To facilitate networking, research and
     information-sharing between organisations &
     individuals throughout the island of Ireland on
     issues related to youth justice
                Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Children Act

    5 years on key provisions of the Act are not
     commenced

    Only 2 of the 10 community sanctions are in place

    Section 77 - allowing the court to divert to the
     HSE on the basis of need is not yet in force



                Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Principles of Youth Justice
 Children in conflict with the law have a right:
 • to be treated equally in a manner consistent with
   respect for their rights and their welfare
 • to age-appropriate treatment
 • to be involved in decisions made that impact on them
 • to an effective independent complaints mechanism
 • to be diverted where appropriate from the criminal
   justice system
 • to be detained only as a last resort, which requires a
   variety of alternatives to custody to be available.


                Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Youth Justice Review
 The Irish Youth Justice Alliance

    Welcome the recent review

    Acknowledge the open nature of the consultation
     process

    It was a missed opportunity that the review did not
     have as part of its terms of reference to consult
     directly with young people



                 Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Youth Justice Review
 The Irish Youth Justice Alliance

    Welcomes
        the timeliness of the delivery of the Project Team’s
         report and the pragmatic nature of many of its
         proposed reforms
        Minister Lenihan’s swift action in taking steps to
         implement the Review’s recommendations.




                  Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Youth Justice Service
 Welcome decision to establish a Youth Justice Service.
 We call for the Service to:
 •   be empowered to ensure effective co-ordination of
     service provision and policy development between key
     departments and the range of agencies who have
     statutory duties in this area
 •   make strong links to integrate their work with other
     services in the areas of health and education
 •   be sufficiently resourced to enable it to carry out its
     remit – with a ring-fenced budget


                  Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Youth Justice Service
 •   provide leadership in the area and to be integrated
     into services and enable input at a local and
     community level
 •   be expanded to include those with experience of youth
     justice issues and challenges
 •   base its operations, policy and research work on the
     principles of youth justice and Ireland’s international
     obligations, in particular under the UNCRC
 •   act as a standard-setting body with a duty to develop
     and monitor the implementation of models of best
     practice

                 Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Youth Justice Strategy

 •   child-focused
 •   the principles of youth justice
 •   Ireland’s international obligations, in particular the UN
     Convention on the Rights of the Child
 •   International standards on youth justice including the
     Beijing Rules, the Riyadh Guidelines and the Detention
     Rules
 •   Must be rights-based



                 Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Youth Justice Strategy
 The process of drafting the Strategy must:

 •   be transparent and inclusive and serve to generate
     consensus regarding the reform process
 •   Must be undertaken together with those working with
     and for children in conflict with the law; including
     academics, researchers, legal practitioners and the
     judiciary
 •   Must take into account the views of children in conflict
     with the law – in accordance with the National
     Children’s Strategy and Article 12 CRC



                 Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Proposed Reforms
 Proposed amendments to the Children Act
 (under the Criminal Justice Bill)

 Irish Youth Justice Alliance welcomes

 •   the commitment to allow inspection of detention
     schools by the Social Services Inspectorate.
 •   the decision to bring responsibility for the detention of
     children under one department, which will lead to the
     removal of children (under 18 years) from adult
     prisons.

                 Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Proposed Reforms
 The Irish Youth Justice Alliance concerned:
 •   that the proposed amendment to set 10 as the age of
     criminal responsibility for serious crimes
 •   introduction of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, which
     can be granted for non-criminal ‘anti-social’ behaviour
 •   potential net-widening effect of expanding the Garda
     Diversion Programme, according to which children are
     not prosecuted but are diverted to a police-led
     diversion scheme, to those who are involved in anti-
     social rather than criminal behaviour.



                 Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006
Realising Potential
 The Irish Youth Justice Alliance:

 •   we believe that new service offers considerably
     potential to solve these problems and raise the quality
     of services provided to children and young people.

 •   we look forward to working with the Youth Justice
     Service, the Office of Minister for Children, the
     Department of Education and the HSE to make a
     lasting difference to the lives of young people in
     conflict with the law.




                 Youth Justice Service Conference – 26th January 2006

				
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