Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Department of Justice, Equality and Defence
Question 151: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress he has made in emphasising alternative programmes for young offenders through extensions to the juvenile liaison officer scheme and the diversion programme in conjunction with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Garda Commissioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19879/11]
The Programme for Government gives a commitment to tackle youth crime on a number of different fronts including giving a special emphasis to alternative programmes for young offenders through extensions to the Juvenile Liaison Officer Scheme and the Diversion Programme. The Deputy will be aware that the Diversion Programme, which is operated by An Garda Síochána under Part 4 of the Children Act 2001, has been successful in diverting young persons away from crime by offering guidance and support to the young people and their families. The work of the Garda Juvenile Liaison Officers under the Programme is strongly supported by the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS) through the funding and oversight of 100 Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) across the country.
I wish to inform the Deputy that I will continue to maintain responsibility for the diversion and community aspects of the work of IYJS, while my colleague the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will take responsibility for the Children Detention Schools in Oberstown. I will be consulting closely with my Ministerial colleague and with the Garda Commissioner in the continuing development of programmes to tackle youth crime.
I am aware that IYJS, in close partnership with An Garda Síochána, is engaged in a major change programme to enhance the effectiveness of GYDPs. These projects are developing outcome focused programmes for young people in their charge based on evidence informed service planning and delivery. The outcomes for young people relating to reduced impulsivity, increased empathy and improved pro-social behaviours, offer an effective means, alongside other complimentary interventions, of impacting high volume crime such as alcohol, drug and public order related offending. The projects continue to build capacity towards impacting on as many of these young people as possible. I will monitor the impact of these latest developments and the results will be taken on board in considering future developments in this area.