19th July 2022
Restorative Justice: Strategies for Change (RJS4C) has published a new analysis exploring the use of restorative justice in Ireland in the 2020 calendar year. This analysis follows the January 2021 publication of an initial dataset pertaining to 2019. The 2020 data suggest that, while cases involving restorative justice increased overall from 2019 to 2020, an increase in cases reported by the Garda Youth Diversion Programme masked a fall in cases reported by other services. RJS4C notes that while the decline may be attributable to COVID-19, the proportion of cases referred to restorative justice in Ireland remains “miniscule”, compared with the overall criminal justice workload.
2020 at a glance:
RJS4C note that aside from the number, however, we know little about Garda cases from these data. For example, how many cases victims participated in (either directly or indirectly), the models of practice used, the outcomes agreed, the levels of compliance, the impact on desistance, engagement with services and family relationships, and the criteria and process used to determine whether restorative justice is offered in a given case. Most of this information is also missing from the other services. However, RJS4C estimates suggest that the proportion of victims who opt to participate in restorative justice is quite high, with an estimated 65% of victims participating (in cases with direct victims).
Comparing the number of cases referred to restorative justice with the total criminal justice caseload, analysis ultimately finds that, at all stages of the criminal justice process, the potential for restorative justice is not being met.
A more comprehensive summary of the findings is available on the RJS4C website here.
More detailed findings – including a breakdown of the total cases, victim participation and types of service – are available on the RJS4C website here.