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Garda Youth Diversion Programme in Ireland Essay Sample 

The following essay sample shall discuss the work of the Garda Youth Diversion Programme in Ireland, Garda Youth Diversion Projects for the young people and retributive v. restorative justice for the young offenders under the Youth Diversion Programme.

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Children Act, 2001 was formally established for introducing a law for the detention of children who have committed serious offences or crimes and is seen as a last resort by the state.

The aim of the Garda Youth Diversion Programme is to prevent any anti-social behaviour of the young children and giving them a second chance of not getting punished by the Criminal Justice System of Ireland.

It prevents young people from committing any such further crimes or offences and anti-social behaviour.

The Garda Youth Diversion Programme’s work and activities are regulated by the Garda Juvenile Liasion Officers (JLOs).

It prevents any criminal mindset of a person or their families by also involving the teachers, staff, school administrative officer and other Gardai in the local area.

How the Garda Youth Diversion Programme Works in Ireland 

The young person who must be included in the Garda Youth Diversion Programme only when they take up the responsibility of their offensive behaviour, agree to be cautioned and agree to the terms of supervision.

The Garda Youth Diversion Office is responsible for the work of this programme and is part of both Garda Youth Diversion and Crime Prevention Bureau.

This office was established in the year 1991 in Dublin for the welfare of the children by liaising with the voluntary and statutory bodies in Ireland.

It develops contacts with school liaisoning officers for adopting the crime prevention programmes for children and examining cases of the children who are missing from their homes.

This Youth Programme allows the young children to be dealt with by the means of caution first, instead of any charge or prosecuting them for offences and anti-social behaviour.

A child after receiving any formal or informal caution is supervised by the Juvenile Liaisoning Officers who help in holding a conference between the child and the victim to make an appropriate action plan.

The decision of cautioning the young offenders or not depends upon the certain elements and nature of crime such as –

  • Nature of crime or seriousness of the offence.
  • Views or opinions of the arresting Garda officer.
  • Collective interests of society.
  • Views of the victim.
  • Views of the parents or guardians of the young person.
  • Child’s previous action or conduct and involvement in such crimes.
  • Any compensation made or harm can be repaired.
  • Conduct and an attitude of a young person who has committed any such offence.

Garda Youth Diversion Projects for the Young Offenders in Ireland 

Garda Youth Diversion Projects are regulated and administered by The Department of Justice and Equality’s Youth Crime Policy and Programmes Division. It works with the Garda Youth Diversion Office and Irish Youth Justice Service.

These projects are all community based multi-agency youth crime prevention initiatives which seek to prevent young children from any anti-social or criminal act or behaviour.

This includes many physical activities of music, sports, education and arts which engages children during the school working hours.

Each project is staffed by the two youth and is co-funded by the Irish Government and European Social Fund.

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Restorative Justice versus Retributive Justice under the Diversion Programme for the Young Offenders 

A person who is below 18 years of age and has committed a crime shall either be first cautioned or brought in before the courts.

Before any such person is brought before the court must be given any formal or informal caution and after that placed under Juveline liaisoning officer’s supervision of 12 months.

Under the principle of restorative justice, the victims are offered a chance to meet the offender to challenge the behaviour of him. It is seen as an opportunity for the victim to get reassurance for not repeating the same behaviour in the future.

It provides a chance to the victim to explain that up to what extent the crime has affected them and chance of apology by the offender to the victim by bringing them to the conference table under the supervision of Garda juvenile liaison officer.

It is an opportunity to positively repair any harm by compensating or apologising and restoration of the same by making the person responsible for his actions and accountable for his behaviour.

Restorative justice is a radical concept of restoring offences in today’s retributive criminal justice system.

Retributive justice is given in the case of serious offences where the restoration is not possible through negotiation between the parties. It is considered to be not only a violation of law but also a crime against society.

The aim of retributive justice is to inculcate guilt in a person to establish and administer deterring punishment for the crime.

It makes the nature of the crime deterring and violation of the interpersonal relationships. 

Children between the age of 10 to 16 years can be sentenced by the courts and 18 years person can be sent to the Oberstown Children Detention Campus. These former reformatory schools are called children detention schools and are managed by the Irish Youth Justice Service which is a part of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

There are three detention schools of Oberstown Boys School, Oberstown Girls School and Trinity House School.

The male offenders from 16 to 21 are put into detention and not prison. While children of 10 to 18 years can be sentenced to a period of detention by courts at the Oberstown Campus.

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The above sample is based on the working of the Garda Youth Diversion Programme in Ireland.

Childcare QQI Level 5, Early Childhood Care and Education QQI Level 5, Supervision in Early Childhood Care QQI Level 6 students can benefit from reading this essay and help them nurture their knowledge.

This sample can be read in reference with The Children Act, 2001 (Children and Criminal Justice System), Childcare Act, 1991 and Child and Family Relationships Act, 2015.

We have related assignments on our registered Irish website on Youth Work, Youth Crime in Ireland, Drugs and Alcohol, Government initiatives in child safety, Miscarriage of justice and Social justice.

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