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Juvenile justice in Ireland is at a time of transition. The recently enacted Children Act, 2001 is the first piece of legislative change in almost a century and once fully implemented will provide for much needed change. However, at the time of this study juvenile justice in Ireland was still legislated for by the Children Act, 1908 and there was increasing concern that the needs and rights of children in conflict with the law were not being met. There was very little in the way of empirical evidence however, to validate these claims. This study examines the entire population (N=68) of children on remand in Ireland during four time periods, and the results are presented in three sections. Section A provides a background profile of the population and illustrates the high levels of social, familial and educational disadvantage experienced by the young people. It also demonstrates the large extent to which these young people had already been in contact with various welfare and justice agencies prior to their period of remand. Section B specifically examines the period of detention on remand, and illustrates some of the problems faced by the young people including the large number of children detained for welfare reasons rather than their offending behaviour and excessive periods of time in detention due to a lack of appropriate facilities. This section also uses a flowchart of the juvenile justice systems to illustrate the position of each individual within it. Section C provides more detailed information relating to each child’s ‘remand episode’’ and uses the flowchart to illustrate the cycle of repeat remands and lengthy periods of detention. Finally this study discusses some of the findings in more detail including the relationship between school failure and crime, particular issues associated with female offenders, the number of welfare cases in the remand system and the deprivation of liberty and children’s rights.
Anderson, S.: An Exploration of the Policy and Practice of Custodial Remands for Children Under 16 Years in Ireland. Masters Thesis. Dublin Institute of Technology, 2004.