Dáil Éireann - Volume 578 - 29 January, 2004

Written Answers - Juvenile Offenders.

  10. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of juvenile liaison officers in the Garda Síochána at the latest date for which figures are available; his plans to extend the scheme in view of the proven success of it in dealing with juvenile offenders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2492/04]

  Mr. McDowell:I have been informed by the Garda authorities who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel that as at 27 January 2004, there are 85 juvenile liaison officers, JLO gardaí and eight JLO sergeants working in the various divisions throughout the country. In addition to this, the national juvenile office has a staff of one superintendent, two inspectors, two sergeants and [1194] four civilians. There are no plans to extend the programme to other areas as the programme is already nationwide.

Part 4 of the Children Act 2001 came into law in May 2002. This effectively placed the Garda juvenile diversion programme on a statutory basis for the first time in its 40 year history. Included in the Act is the introduction into the criminal justice system of the concept of restorative justice and family conferencing, the provisions of which are currently being put into effect by the Garda Síochána.

In compliance with the provisions of section 44 of the Act, a committee has been established to monitor the effectiveness of the programme, review all aspects of its operation and monitor the ongoing training needs of facilitators. In addition, a review is presently taking place within the Garda Síochána regarding the resource implications resulting from the introduction of the Children Act.