Source: (2009) London: Prison Reform Trust.

This report examines recent youth justice reform in Northern Ireland, focussing particularly on the operation and outcomes of the Youth Conference Service, which is part of the Youth Justice Agency of Northern Ireland. Many of the youth justice reforms in Northern Ireland derive from the Criminal Justice Review of 2000. This led to the youth justice system adopting a statutory aim of protecting the public by preventing offending and reoffending by children, to the introduction of new community sentences and to the setting up of the Youth Conferencing Service. The service, which takes a restorative justice approach to tackling offending by young people, was established in 2003. Its primary aims are to reduce levels of reoffending and to meet the needs of victims of crime, and early research evidence indicates that it is enjoying some success in these terms. The introduction of youth conferencing appears, moreover, to have contributed to an overall decline in the use of custody for young offenders in Northern Ireland. (excerpt)

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