Irish Penal Reform Trust

The Irish Times: Judge calls for law on parents of young offenders to be abolished

10th July 2017

An article in The Irish Times by Conor Gallagher on Children's Court Judge John O'Connor's speech at the annual ACJRD conference on Tuesday 4th July 2017, titled "What Works and What Could Work Better in Irish Youth Justice Policy".

Speaking to lawyers, Gardaí and social workers, Judge O'Connor is quoted as saying:

“There should be no punishment of parents for the offences committed by their children and parental supervision orders should be abolished”.

He further said that parental supervision orders are “unlikely to contribute to parents becoming active partners in the social reintegration of their child”.

According to the article, there have been previous calls to increase punishment of parents who are perceived to not adequately supervise their children. During the 2016 general election, Renua proposed that parents should pay court costs of children who were repeat offenders. At the time, the Irish Penal Reform Trust said such proposals would disproportionately affect poorer communities and contribute to the cycle of poverty and imprisonment.

Parental supervision orders have been rarely used in the Children Court. Judges see them as unhelpful in promoting responsible behaviour in parents, and encouraging the engagement of parents is thought to be generally more effective than criminalisation.

To read the article in full, click here.

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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