11 Aug 2022

Laois Sinn Féin TD urges Garda Commissioner on schemes to repay victims of crime

Laois Sinn Féin TD urges Garda Commissioner on schemes to compensate victims of crime

Restorative Justice schemes which are working in Tallaght and Tipperary should be started in Laois, says Laois Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley.

He has urged Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to start such a scheme in Laois which encourages criminals to financially compensate and apologise to victims and can break the cycle of crime.

“Judge Mary Martin was very strong on this. Results can be better than imprisonment. .

I don't imagine it as a silver bullet but they have to pay recompense. It can help the victims and the offender, to feel some of the wrongs were undone,” he said.

"It breaks the revolving door. It means the perpretrator has to step up and make good their actions, and it is more cost effective. 

Deputy Stanley put his question to the Garda Commissioner at the meeting of the Laois Joint Policing Committee held on June 21.

Commissioner Harris replied that he is in favour of restorative justice, "with an offender you can still make an impression on".

"It's pretty successful in diverting young people away from crime," he said.

He said that restorative cautions increased from 125 in 2019 to 716 in 2020 with new schemes in Tipperary and Tallaght in Dublin.

“We have made it an important way of juvenile diversion. A national rollout is in the programme for Government. It allows offenders to face up to the consequences of their actions. It is intensive in time but we have showed it does work in prevention of future crimes. It is a good deal cheaper than sending someone to prison, and obviously if it prevents further offending,” he agreed.

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