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Irish youth Justice Policy and Practice

Tuesday, 27 September 2016, 4:30 – 8pm

Irish youth Justice Policy and Practice

Academic research roundtable on Irish youth justice policy and practice: reflecting on challenges and opportunities

Keynote address -  Positive Youth justice: Children First, Offenders Second

Irish youth justice policy and practice has made major strides over the past 15 years. Legislative and policy reform and substantial investment have created a youth justice system that is largely progressively and in line with international human rights standards and accepted principles of good practice.  The imminent expiry of the Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018 suggests that it is timely to consider the priorities of the next national policy in this area.

Professor of Criminology at Loughborough University, Stephen Case will provide a keynote address on his research on the ‘Positive Youth Justice’ framework, how it was developed and how it is being used to advocate youth justice reform in England and Wales.

The Children First, Offenders Second (CFOS) model evolves contemporary youth justice beyond its contemporary risk focus and promotes a principled, progressive and practical approach to the treatment of children in the Youth Justice System. The measurement, assessment and amelioration of the risk children present to themselves and others underpins and drives contemporary youth justice processes in the UK and internationally. However, the utility of the risk paradigm has been over-stated, it is insufficient in its evidence-base and it is incapable of sustaining the faith placed in it as the guiding principle for animating youth justice practice. Nevertheless, there is at present no consensus about what approach to youth justice should or can replace risk as the driver of policy and practice.

The paper outlines the CFOS model – a modern, economic-normative paradigm founded on central guiding principles for positive youth justice practice – child-friendly and child-appropriate rights-focused treatment, diversion, inclusionary prevention, participation and engagement, legitimacy, the promotion of positive behaviour and outcomes, evidence-based partnership, systems management and the responsibilisation of adults.  Therefore, CFOS constitutes a blueprint for a distinctive, principled, progressive approach to working with children; one that can be adopted and adapted by local authority areas throughout England and Wales, and by other nation states across the UK, Europe and beyond. The evolution, trajectory and practical realisation of a CFOS in Wales will be discussed and animated with evidence from a twenty-year programme of associated reflective research.

Stephen Case’s primary research interests are youth justice, youth crime prevention, children’s rights and social justice, particularly the promotion of positive, children first ways of working with children embroiled in the Youth Justice System. He has conducted associated research for the ESRC, Home Office, Youth Justice Board, Welsh Government and the Leverhulme Trust. He has published widely on the topic of positive youth justice, most notably in Youth Justice Journal (cf. Case and Haines 2018), has co-authored the book ‘Positive Youth Justice: Children First, Offenders Second’ (Haines and Case 2015) and has most recently published ‘Youth Justice: A Critical Introduction’ (Case 2018). He is also a Director of the Standing Committee for Youth Justice and sits on the steering group of the Association of Panel Members.

Ursula Kilkelly is a professor of law at University College Cork School of Law.  She is director of the Centre for Children’s Rights and Family Law and the author of multiple books, articles and research reports on youth justice and children’s rights.  She is co-editor with Prof Lesley McAra of Edinburgh University of Youth Justice: An International Journal. Since 2016, Ursula has chaired the Board of Management of Oberstown Children Detention Campus and since 2017 she has been a member of the Board of the Irish Research Council.  She is also a former chairperson of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (2007-2010).

Katharina Swirak is lecturer in Criminology at the Department of Sociology/University College Cork. Her research interests include Irish youth justice policy and practice, particularly in relation to diversion and prevention as well as the role of the social professions in youth justice practice settings. She is particularly interested in understanding the impacts of managerial reforms on youth justice policy, how these impact professional practice and how they can be understood in terms of broader cultural assumptions around young people and the management of offending behaviour.

Mary Rogan is a professor of law at Trinity College Dublin.  Her research interests include prison law, human rights and imprisonment, and penal policymaking.  She is committed to using research to improve penal policy and the policymaking process. She chairs the Implementation and Oversight Group on reforms to penal policy, reporting to the Minister for Justice and Equality. She has also been a member of the Central Statistics Office's Expert Group on Crime Statistics. Professor Rogan is a representative of Ireland on the International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation, a body with advisory status to the United Nations. She is a member of the Board of the Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders, the Victims' Rights Alliance, and is a former Chairperson of the Irish Penal Reform Trust.

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Event Type: Conferences, Courses, Lectures and Seminars, Public, Workshops and Training
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public…

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