IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Shifting Focus: From Criminal Justice to Social Justice

23rd September 2010

Reinvesting in Better and Safer Communities

Conference on Thurs 23rd Sept 2010 in Dublin, hosted by:

Shifting Focus

The goal of any criminal justice system should be to make society safer for all. However, the justice system in Ireland has long emphasised punishment over prevention – an emphasis which has been damaging to Irish society.

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) has long argued that crime cannot be viewed as a social problem in isolation from deeper social and economic issues. Our system of justice is spending increasing and wasteful amounts of scarce resources with poor results in reducing crime. At the same time, modest investments in under-resourced communities and in prevention and intervention strategies would have greater positive effects in reducing offending, as well as producing wider social benefits.

At a time of a deepening economic and social crisis, we want to propose a simple yet proven idea - that a shift in resources from criminal justice to social justice makes social and economic sense.

Informed by a common commitment to human rights and social justice, IPRT has come together with Barnardos and the Irish Association of Young People in Care (IAYPIC) to analyse how this idea can be put in practice. 

To this end, on Thursday 23rd September 2010 we hosted a 1-day conference to consider how Ireland might begin to refocus our approach to crime and social policy in line with these principles.

  • The conference heard from leading Irish and international speakers, who addressed the social and economic dimensions of crime, and explored the theory and practice of how interventions can be designed to achieve effective results.
  • Practitioners presented evaluated prevention, intervention and diversion projects and programmes.
  • A panel of politicians addressed the themes in the closing session.

Download the Conference programme here.

For Conference presentations, photo's, etc. please click here.

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