Thursday, 24 January 2019

Ceisteanna (112)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

112. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the policy on juvenile offenders and youth justice was last reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3492/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can assure the Deputy that policy in this area is kept under ongoing review.

The Children Act 2001 (as amended) provides the legislative framework for the Youth Justice system, and is underpinned by key principles which include using detention as a last resort and diverting children away from involvement in criminal activity.

A National Youth Justice Strategy, 2008-2010, was followed by the current Youth Justice Action Plan, 2014-2018. The YJAP set out on a range of key actions to help reduce the number of young offenders in detention and steer young people away from criminal or anti-social activity, in line with the principles contained in the Children Act. The YJAP was coordinated by the Irish Youth Justice Service, supported by my Department, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Oberstown Children Detention Campus, An Garda Síochána, the Probation Service, the Irish Prison Service, Tusla and community stakeholders.

I can inform the Deputy that I will be convening an expert Steering Group next month to help guide the development of the new Youth Justice Strategy, including a review of the provisions of the Children Act. My intention is that the new strategy will be developed following consultation with relevant stakeholders over the course of this year, taking into account the outcomes from the current Action Plan and any relevant learning from the review of Youth Referrals, and published in 2020.