Criminal Justice Sectoral Strategy 2022 – 2024
7th March 2022
IPRT notes the publication of the Criminal Justice Sectoral Strategy 2022 – 2024 by the Department of Justice. The purpose of this first ever Criminal Justice Sectoral Strategy is to develop a shared vision for a more joined-up criminal justice system, which is very much welcomed by IPRT.
The Strategic Pillars of the Strategy are:
- Strengthening strategic collaboration
- Improving user experience
- Data as a driver
- Building workforce capability
- Increasing public understanding
IPRT particularly welcomes the focus on data throughout the Strategy. The recording and monitoring of ethnicity across the criminal justice system is among the developments to be considered, by Q4 2023. Strengthening data on ethnicity was recently recommended by IPRT in our submission to (Aug 2019) and appearance before (Oct 2021) the Joint Committee on Key Issues affecting the Traveller Community. Prevailing gaps in this area are also being explored as part of IPRT’s current research project on Race and Ethnicity in the Irish Penal System (working title), which will be published in the coming weeks.
The Strategy also plans to, by Q1 2022, establish and support a Cross Criminal Justice Data Group to support the development of data across the sector to inform insights.
This Sectoral Strategy notes that it will be “rolled out against a backdrop of the large-scale transformation and reform that is already underway across the sector”, the Strategy specifically mentions that this includes the ongoing Review of Policy Options for Prison and Penal Reform 2022-2024. We look forward to the publication of this review.
Actions in the Implementation Plan related to the work of IPRT include:
- Action 1.4: We will expand and review alternatives to prosecution in order to divert minor offences away from the Courts.
- Action 2.1.3: We will maintain our focus on the rights of system users from minority groups, new communities, persons with disabilities and young persons while also reflecting our commitment to the Public Sector Duty.
- Action 2.2.4: We will establish an appropriate mechanism to create awareness and availability of Restorative Justice at all stages of the criminal justice system, in line with published policy proposals.
- Action 2.4.1: We will restructure the governance and oversight of multi-agency offender management programmes to improve collaborative structures and outcomes.
- Action 2.4.2: We will develop an agreed multi-agency approach to the management of life sentenced prisoners, complex and high risk offenders and domestic violence offenders.
- Action 2.4.3: We commit to implementing a holistic high level implementation plan to ensure the mental health and dual diagnosis needs of people in prison are met and primary care support is available on release, through the work of the Mental Health Taskforce. This will require collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Health, the HSE and other strategic partners.
- Action 3.1.1: We will continue to work together in order to develop an evidence base to support our work, maintaining an ongoing dialogue in areas of interest.
- Action 3.2.1: We will explore options for the use of common identifiers within criminal justice data.
- Action 3.2.2: We will explore and develop options to provide for the recording and monitoring of ethnicity across the criminal justice system.
- Action 3.2.3: We will continue to develop collaborative relationships between the CSO and criminal justice agencies to develop insights, assess outcomes and predict future trends.
- Action 3.3.3: We will regularly publish research and data in a format and language that is accessible to members of the wider public in a centralised location.
- Action 5.1.1: We will conduct an annual nationally representative survey to (i) understand the public’s needs, perceptions and expectations of the criminal justice system, including perceived procedural fairness and (ii) to identify any gaps to be addressed.
- Action 5.1.2: We will develop a centralised website and a range of resources to communicate basic information on how exactly the system works.
IPRT was pleased to attend a stakeholder consultation meeting in early 2020 to inform the early development of this Strategy. IPRT looks forward to engaging with the Department, its agencies, and other stakeholders on the key issues outlined in the Strategy. We will closely follow the delivery of these actions over the course of 2022 – 2024.
The Criminal Justice Sectoral Strategy and its Implementation Plan can be accessed on the Department of Justice website here.