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Question

127. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will develop a discrete strategy for young adults of 18 to 24 years of age who are in conflict with the law, with particular emphasis on diversion, restorative justice, case management and other strategies proven to be most effective for this age group. [12639/16]

171. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality to extend diversion and inter-agency approaches to crime prevention to young persons up to 24 years of age. [12699/16]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 127 and 171 together.
As the Programme for Government states, we support the expansion of Local Drug Taskforce projects and Garda Youth Diversion Programmes for young people promoting restorative justice, and other voluntary organisations that contribute to our young people’s future direction.
The Deputy may be aware of the Report of the Penal Policy Review Group which was published in September 2014. The Review Group conducted a wide ranging strategic review of penal policy taking into account relevant work already completed in the jurisdiction and elsewhere, the rights of those convicted of crimes and the perspective of those who are victims of crime and the interests of society in general.
The Review Group’s Report contains 43 recommendations, one of which is that a programme similar to the Youth Diversion Programme be introduced for young people above the age of 18 years with an initial focus on 18 to 21 year olds. In this regard, the Review Group recommended that the relevant Departments and agencies, including An Garda Síochána, should immediately consult in relation to the most appropriate and effective means of targeting this group within the context of current and future resources. The Irish Youth Justice Service is currently engaged with An Garda Síochána in relation to the recommendation having regard to the experience of the existing Diversion Programme for persons under eighteen years of age. The Deputy might wish to note that the existing Diversion Programme is currently the subject of a comprehensive review by a group established by the Garda Commissioner. The outcome of this review will assist the Irish Youth Justice Service with its detailed consideration of the Penal Policy Review Group's recommendation.