Lauren McKeon, Legal Executive

On the 15th of April 2021, Minister of State for Law Reform, James Browne TD introduced the Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2027. This Strategy was created to provide a framework to address the challenges around children and young adult’s involvement in the Criminal Justice System.[1] It assesses how we can stop young people from becoming recurring adult offenders.

A key objective of this Strategy is to improve the collaboration between all relevant agencies and programmes to encourage a ‘wrap around’ approach for the needs of young people at risk, in order to strengthen their ability to live a life free from crime.[2] Minister James Browne TD stated that “young people should have the benefit of a ‘no wrong door’ experience”.[3] Therefore if a young person or a family member connects with any service, there should be an accessible pathway to any other supports they may need.[4]

The Strategy sets out to accomplish the above objective mainly by improving the services available through the existing network of 105 Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs). GYDPs engage with young people who are at risk of, or who are already involved in anti-social or criminal activity.[5] GYDPs offer young people opportunities for education, employment and training, access to sport, art, music, and other activities which may improve future employability.

At the moment many areas throughout the country do not have a GYDP service. This Strategy sets out to achieve full national coverage within two years.[6] It also seeks to enhance the range and quality of GYDPs’ supports.[7] For example, GYDPs will be more equipped to provide additional services including[8]:

  • Providing family support;
  • Engagement with younger children between the ages of 8 to 11 years old;
  • Early intervention and engagement with young people whose needs may be too complex for the existing GYDP services; and
  • Working alongside schools to support young people with challenging behaviour, remain in the education system.

Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD welcomed the Strategy and stated “This Strategy aims to address the ‘hard to reach’ cohort of young people at risk and there will be a priority focus on more problematic offending. We will adopt a “never-give-up” approach of engaging with those who are hardest for services to reach.” [9]

If you would like full to access the Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2027 please Click Here.

 

Bibliography

Department of Justice, 2021. Youth Justice Strategy 2021. Dublin. Available at <http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Youth_Justice_Strategy_2021-2027.pdf/Files/Youth_Justice_Strategy_2021-2027.pdf> [Accessed 17 April 2021].

Extern: Transforming Lives Transforming Society. 2021. Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP). [online] Available at: <https://www.extern.org/garda-youth-diversion-project-gydp#:~:text=What%20is%20a%20Garda%20Youth,become%20positive%20contributors%20to%20society.> [Accessed 17 April 2021].

Justice.ie. 2021. Minister Browne launches Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2027 – The Department of Justice. [online] Available at: <http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR21000079> [Accessed 17 April 2021].

 

[1] (Minister Browne launches Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2027 – The Department of Justice, 2021)

[2] (Department of Justice, 2021)

[3] Ibid (n 2)

[4] Ibid (n 2)

[5] (Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP), 2021)

[6] Ibid (n 2)

[7] Ibid (n 2)

[8] Ibid (n 1)

[9] Ibid (n 1)