Green Party Spokesperson for Justice and TD for Dublin South Central, Deputy Patrick Costello, has called on the Minister for Justice to extend Garda Youth Diversion Programmes (GDYPs) to 18 – 24-year olds in Budget 2022 to help divert vulnerable children and young adults away from crime and anti-social behaviour. His calls come after a rise in incidences of crime and anti-social behaviour in Dublin.
Speaking on the matter, Deputy Costello said: “Over recent weeks, I’ve received a notable increase in correspondence from worried constituents about crime and anti-social behaviour in the Dublin area. We cannot police our way out of this problem, we need to tackle it via wider preventative work which will divert young people from becoming involved in crime and anti-social behaviour in the first place.
“Ireland has a drastic cut-off in youth justice and preventative supports for young people once they turn eighteen. Currently, GDYPs focus primarily on 12-17-year olds, with the aim being to divert young people who have become involved in crime and anti-social behaviour and to support wider preventative work within the community and with families at risk.
“The cut-off in youth justice is reflected in prison numbers: young people aged 18-24 represent 11% of the adult population in Ireland but more than 21% of committals to prison every year. Imprisonment is particularly damaging to young people and young people who have been imprisoned have a higher rate of reoffending than other age groups. Around 73% of 18-24-year-olds sentenced to prison in 2018 were committed for sentences of less than 12 months.
“I have written to the Minister to ask her to commit to extending GDYPs in the upcoming Budget. Focusing on a more preventative youth justice approach would not only benefit young people and communities, many of which have been plagued by a rise in crime and anti-social behaviour since Covid. At a time when many communities complain that they don’t even know who their local community police are, it is imperative that we work to implement a community-led approach so that people can begin to feel safe again,” Deputy Costello concluded.