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Written Answers. - Juvenile Offenders.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 433. Cecilia Keaveney Information on Cecilia Keaveney Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  his views of the value of community service for young offenders as opposed to prison sentences, particularly for criminal damage and public order type offences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23392/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell Under the Criminal Justice (Community Service) Act, 1983, a court may make a community service order as an alternative to a sentence of imprisonment or detention in respect of any individual over the age of 16 years who has been convicted of a criminal offence and who consents to the order being made. The order requires an offender to perform unpaid work for between 40 and 240 hours, usually to be completed within 12 months.

The aim of a community service order is to rehabilitate the offender through the discipline of having to work in the community and the making of meaningful reparation to that community for his or her crime. The making of a community service order is a matter entirely for the judiciary and one in which I have no function. I do, however, believe that a court should have a wide range of effective options, including community service orders, available to it when considering sentences for certain types of offenders.


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