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Ó Snodaigh addresses Irish Penal Reform Trust conference

23 September, 2010 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD today addressed the Irish Penal Reform Trust Conference in Dublin. During the course of his contribution Deputy Ó Snodaigh said a preventative approach to justice focusing on early interventions with those individuals who may be at risk of offending or re-offending is vital.

He said:

“Sinn Féin believes that the most effective crime policies – the ones that have the capacity to actually deliver real community safety – focus on prevention. That is why crime prevention is the first major plank in our approach to justice policy. This requires a twin track approach: dealing squarely with the individual and systemic causes of crime, complemented by other measures proven effective to deter crime.

“Providing for community economic development and the elimination of poverty, education and employment, adequate and appropriate housing, healthcare including and in particular mental health care and other health promotion including treatment for addictions, recreational and other social and cultural infrastructure, childcare and adequate parenting supports all these have a demonstrably positive impact on levels of crime.

“A preventative approach focusing on early interventions with those individuals who may be at risk of offending or re-offending is also vital. Engaging with young people in particular to change behaviour is one important preventative method that deserves greater resources.

“We need to increase the number and deployment of social workers according to need. We need to increase the number of speech and language teraphist. We need, in many ways most of all, to deliver proper prevenative and rahabiliative programmes for those addicted to drugs and/or alchol.

“It is a disgrace that we still don’t have enough rehabiliataive beds to satisfy the huge demand, especailly considering the link between a very high percentage of crimes with susbstance abuse, considering how drug dealing and substance abuse undermines the fabric of families and communities.

“I have demonstrated the how and why Justice Policy could be implemented in a socially positive manner, but in the end of the day it is political will and that requires the people to demand it of politicians and of the system that they deliver.” ENDS

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