Written Answers. - Juvenile Criminal Justice System.

Gay Mitchell

Question:

80 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice the annual sum of money spent on the juvenile criminal justice system, specifically on detention centres and prison accommodation for young offenders; if juvenile offenders, following their arrest, are detained in Garda stations pending the determination of their case; and the funding which is allocated to the national juvenile office of the Garda Síochána.

There are currently 695 offenders under the age of 21 years in prisons and places of detention operated by my Department. They constitute 31 per cent of the total prison population and can be assumed, therefore, to cost about IR£26 per annum which is that percentage of the total operating costs. The figure does not take account of capital costs.

Juvenile offenders are not detained in Garda stations pending determination of their cases. Juvenile offenders are detained following arrest for a sufficient period of time to allow for the verification of identities and other matters which are required to be attended to under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, (Treatment of Persons in Custody in Garda Stations) Regulations, 1987 (S.I. 119/87).

The National Juvenile Office does not have a specific budgetary provision as it forms part of the Garda Community Relations Section. However, it is estimated that a total of approximately £2 million will be spent on the Juvenile Liaison Service this year.