The Cabinet and the Seanad have given approval to the Department of Justice & Equality to explore the options in creating a pilot Community Court in Dublin. Minister for State Joe Costello announced the Cabinet's approval at a Seanad debate on 25th February on the topic of Community Courts.
A Community Court is a problem-solving court which focuses on minor 'quality-of-life crimes' including graffiti, shop-lifting and vandalism. The court becomes a focus-point where services are available for offenders, victims and locals alike, such as drug-rehabilitation and educational programmes.
The judge in a community court directs the offender towards services such as those for drug addiction, or community service, instead of immediate incarceration. This method of community-based justice has been shown to dramatically reduce recidivism and improve the lives of people who live in crime-affected areas.
Irish Independent, Niall O'Connor, 26th Feb, 'One-stop New York-style justice goes on trial here'
Seanad Debates, 25th Feb, Response of Joe Costello TD (standing in for Minister Shatter)