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Fine Gael boot camp proposal misses the point - Ó Snodaigh

20 November, 2006

Responding to Fine Gael's proposal to introduce boot camps for young people engaged in anti-social and/or criminal behaviour under the operation of the Defence Forces Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD described the proposal as a gimmick and said it would "ultimately fail to reduce both anti-social and criminal behaviour amongst young people."

"Fine Gael are proposing this as their alternative to prison. They're missing the point. The use of prison to address non-criminal anti-social behaviour and offences of a minor nature is ineffective, hugely expensive and wrong. It is a punitive approach that fails to address any of the source causes of the offending behaviour and fails spectacularly to reduce re-offending. Trusting young people, who are often in need of acute support and intervention, to the Defences Forces would be worse still. Bullying, harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexuality are major problems in the Defence Forces. Are these really the values that we would wish to instil in young offenders? Fine Gael's proposal is overly punitive and lacks any trace of a rehabilitation effort. It would ultimately fail to reduce both anti-social and criminal behaviour amongst young people.

"There are restorative justice and diversionary youth programmes operating in this country with a proven track record in terms of crime and menace reduction. Fine Gael and their running partners in the Labour Party are clearly more interested in promoting gimmicks than actually addressing the fears and grave problems faced by communities. This boot-camp gimmick is as bad as the government's ASBOs proposal.

"Voting for either the current coalition or the so-called alternative is a vote that is soft on crime because both would fail to reduce crime." ENDS

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