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Report on juvenile reconviction rates points to failure of justice system

30 March, 2005


Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Cllr Sue Ramsey has said that a reconviction rate of 36% for young people going through the juvenile justice system both under estimates the true level of recidivism and points to the failure of the justice system in tackling the problem of youth offending behaviour.

Ms Ramsey said:

"The fact that over one in three young people going through the juvenile justice centres are reconvicted within 12 months points to a chronic problem with the justice system's approach to young people.

"I believe that these figures both under estimate the true level of recidivism but, more importantly, point to the failure of the justice system in tackling and providing a long term solution to the problem of youth offending behaviour.

"In comparison community based youth diversionary programmes are showing the way forward in challenging youth offending behaviour.

"Organisations such as Community Restorative Justice Ireland and in particular their schools outreach programme are not just challenging behaviour they are finding long term solution that involve not just perpetrators of crime and their victims but also the community.

"Community based initiatives such as these are important especially in dealing with the fundamental problem of re-integration and in mending relationships between persistent offenders and the communities they come from.

"The reality is that while communities have a very low level of confidence in the justice system in general, initiatives such as Community Restorative Justice Ireland are providing real alternatives yet this organisation is being cold shouldered by the NIO." ENDS

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