Fourth Discussion Document

This Fourth Discussion Document - 'The Community and the Criminal Justice System' (PDF - 933KB) is the fourth and final discussion document to be published in the process leading to a White Paper on Crime.

As was the case with the previous discussion documents in the series, this document is aimed at the general reader and comprises a non-specialist overview of the issues, together with a number of questions to assist in shaping discussion and feedback.

The document looks at the range of interactions between the public and the criminal justice system.

This document considers how:

The commitment in the Programme for Government to enact legislation to strengthen the rights of victims of crime and their families is particularly relevant to this phase of the consultation process.

At the outset the document considers those characteristics which engender public confidence in the criminal justice system and the impact that this has on engagement with, and support of the system. The document further considers public knowledge and awareness of the criminal justice system, including the availability of accurate and current information on the performance of that system.

The role of the media in shaping people’s awareness of crime and criminal justice issues is also examined.

The document next looks at relationships between criminal justice agencies, including An Garda Síochána, and the community. Developments in community policing are described in this section, as well as initiatives which respond to the needs of specific groups within the community.

The document then outlines the various interactions an individual might have with the criminal justice system whether as a victim, witness, suspect, accused, or juror, and the relevant legislative and administrative frameworks.

Examples of the questions flagged for detailed consideration include:


Fourth Discussion Document - 'The Community and the Criminal Justice System' - Summary of Consultation Outcomes

In May and June, 2011, the Department of Justice and Equality held a series of regional consultation meetings on themes discussed in the White Paper on Crime discussion document, ‘The Community and the Criminal Justice System’ (June 2011).

The consultation meetings were held in Tralee, Waterford, Limerick, Galway and Dublin and were facilitated by Dr. Barry Vaughan, NESC. The report on the proceedings of these meetings was prepared by the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) and was published in August, 2011.


Written submissions were also invited on the themes considered in the discussion document and a report on the submissions received, Fourth Discussion Document - White Paper, was prepared by the Department was published in December, 2011.

Issues raised during the consultation include: