The Irish Youth Justice Service responsibilities are managed and staffed by officials from my Department in the Youth Crime Policy and Programmes Division and also by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in the Children Detention Schools Unit.
Close to €17 million was allocated to the Irish Youth Justice Service towards youth crime policy and programmes in 2016.
Of this figure, over €11.7m was allocated to deliver the Garda Youth Diversion Projects (incorporating Local Drugs Task Force Projects) and nearly €5 million allocated to Young Persons Probation Community Projects.
An additional €2.8 million was allocated from the Dormant Accounts Scheme to support new projects, additional youth justice workers and other new initiatives.
‘Tackling Youth Crime’, the Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018 is a follow up to the National Youth Justice Strategy 2008-2010 and forms part of ‘Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures’, the National Policy Framework for Young People 2014-2020, developed by DCYA, with its focus on better outcomes for children and families.
The Plan involves evidence-informed targeted interventions to achieve better outcomes for children who get into trouble with the law, and to reduce crime leading to safer communities.
Progress to date
A Progress Report was published recently and sets out an extensive list of developments over the period 2014/2015 which include:
- The development of a Bail Supervision Scheme for young offenders
- The extension of the Garda Youth Diversion Project Network
- The enactment of the Children (Amendment) Act 2015 which provides for the amalgamation of the three Children Detention Schools in; and
- The completion of a study examining the influence of criminal networks on prolific youth offending
The reduction in the number of young people being referred to the statutory Garda Diversion Programme in recent years points to the positive impacts of this Programme, supported by community based youth crime interventions, which address the bulk of youth offending behaviour. I will be working closely with the relevant agencies to implement the remainder of this plan going forward.
The Progress Report referred to above is available on the website of the Irish Youth Justice Service at: http://www.iyjs.ie/en/IYJS/Final 2014-2015 YJAP Progress Report.pdf/Files/Final 2014-2015 YJAP Progress Report.pdf