Care and Justice

It is widely recognised – both nationally and internationally – that children in care of the State are more likely than other children to end up in conflict with the law, more likely to become criminalised, and more likely to end up in detention, and ultimately prison. The profoundly negative cycle of the criminalisation of young people in care results in poorer outcomes for the individual young person, but also for communities and wider society. While the connections between the experience of care and prison have long been identified, IPRT, in conjunction with EPIC (Empowering People in Care), wishes to address the questions as to what extent this is the case in Ireland, why this is happening and how we can break this cycle.

The project has two main aims:

  1. To examine the extent of, and the reasons for the over-representation of children in care or with care experience in the criminal justice system in Ireland and;
  2. To identify the best ways to address and reduce the criminalisation of these young people.

Research for this project commenced in early 2018 and is due for completion in early 2019. Any questions about the research can be directed to

This project is kindly supported by The Community Foundation for Ireland.

IPRT 'Care and Justice' Report Launch 26th February 2019

On Tues 26 February IPRT will publish our latest research report, carried out by Dr Nicola Carr and Dr Paula Mayock, in the Ombudsman for Children's Office. Read more

Call For Submissions: Addressing the Over-Representation of Children in Care in the Criminal Justice System 16th March 2018

The Irish Penal Reform Trust has commissioned research on the over-representation of children in care or with care experience in the criminal justice system. Read more

Invitation to Tender: Breaking the Care to Prison Pipeline 24th November 2017

IPRT is now inviting tenders for the research and production of a report examining the reasons for the over-representation of children in care, or with experience of care, in the criminal justice system in Ireland. Read more

Criminal Care – Children’s Homes and Criminalising Children 15th April 2016

The Howard League for Penal Reform has recently released a report "Criminal Care – Children’s Homes and Criminalising Children" on their research of how children living in children’s homes in England are being criminalised at excessively high rates compared to all other groups of children. Read more

UK: 'Looked After Children and Offending: Reducing Risk and Promoting Resilience' 17th January 2012

A new report by The Adolescent and Children's Trust (TACT) and the Centre for the Research on the Child and the Family at the University of East Anglia looks at the correlation between children in care and offending. Read more

Guardian: Spending Early on Children in Care 31st March 2010

The complex needs of children in care - why investing in their future is investing in our own. Read more

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