Source: (2008) Criminal Inspection Northern Ireland.

This inspection looked at how young offenders are dealt with through the Youth Conference Service (YCS). It followed on from a comprehensive evaluation of the service conducted early in its development by Queens University Belfast (QUB)1. It assessed the service in terms of the CJI inspection framework at a point in time when the service was receiving on average around 2000 referrals a year. Inspectors found that the YCS was delivering an effective and useful service but that it was operating at the boundary of its capacity under its present structures and resources. Staff and management were totally committed to providing a restorative system that worked for the young offenders as well as for victims and they were focused on getting the balance right between the needs of offenders and victims. The key recommendation of this Inspection is that a full system-wide review into current practices in youth offending is now needed with the aim of developing a clearer and more integrated system with restorative practice at its core. (excerpt)

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