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The Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality will publish the submissions it has received in relation to community courts.

Committee Chairman David Stanton, TD, said: “Late last year, the Committee sought submissions on the possibility of introducing a community courts system in Ireland. Already established in a number of countries, such as the UK, USA and Canada, community courts take a problem-solving justice approach to dealing with what are considered minor crimes such as disorderly conduct, anti-social behaviour, petty theft and criminal damage. The system sees the vast majority of offenders undertaking community service in the neighbourhood to make some reparation for their offences. Availing of health and social services, the system provides immediate access to justice, cuts down on the number of people being incarcerated and, in areas where it is established, has led to a fall in the number of people repeating offences.

We are conscious of the effort that went into producing the submissions and wish to thank all concerned for the work and effort that was made in their preparation. The Committee, in consideration of the many views expressed, agreed that the best way to add value to the consultation process was publish the submissions received together with the transcript of the public hearing from Wednesday, 29th January 2014.

In publishing the submission, the Joint Committee considers that any debate on this matter is best served by open access to the divergent views received. Accordingly the Joint Committee is not making any recommendation at this time but will consider the matter further and will issue a report in due course.”

Read the submissions here: