Fianna Fáil Dublin-Central General Election candidate, Mary Fitzpatrick has said replacing Community led and locally based Justice Youth Services with a service delivered by Garda division will take the focus off providing proactive and preventative supports to young people.
Mary, who is a founding Director of Cabra-4-Youth said, “For more than ten years Cabra’s ‘Step Up’ programme has successfully engaged with young people who are at risk, diverted them away from criminality while supporting them towards responsible personal development.
“‘Step Up,’ which is funded by the Department of Justice, targets vulnerable young people at risk in both DMR North Central and DMR West Garda Divisions.
“This programme actively targets a cohort of young people in the community on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting to provide preventative intervention and rehabilitative work. This is a group that can often prove to be extremely difficult to engage with.
“The existing programme is fully integrated with local Gardaí, Juvenile Liaison Officers, local schools, Community Youth Services and Family Resource and Community Policing Forum organisations in Cabra.
Given its success, I am deeply concerned about Irish Youth Justice Services’ plans to fund services on a Garda Divisional basis from January 2019.
The voluntary led board of Cabra ‘Step Up’ are not in the position to bid for the tender to provide Youth Justice Services for Garda DMR West Division. Sadly therefore, this valuable programme faces full closure.
Mary added, “The only logic for attempting to transition to a new model of divisional delivery would be to simplify the delivery of Justice Youth Services for IYJS and facilitate the privatisation of same.
The reality is that steering away from local, preventative, diversionary, group led Justice Youth Services will isolate young people and promote post criminalisation probationary services.
There appears to be no regard or understanding of the adverse impact this is likely to have on the outcomes of young people living in our community and who need our support.
“No tangible evidence whatsoever had been offered to demonstrate any potential benefit of adopting a divisional approach, other than administrative efficiency for IYJS.
“Making our community safer through the prevention of crime must remain a priority and our community needs full support to save this vital crime prevention programme for Cabra.”