Posted on March 15, 2019
In their article in The Irish Times co-Authors of the report ‘Care and Justice' Nicola Carr and Paula Mayock write “If we are to learn from the mistakes of the past in relation to our response to children in the care of the State, there are clear needs to address these gaps urgently.” Through funding support from one of our generous Donor Advised Funds the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IRPT) was able to create and launch this innovative report into the links between care and justice in the Irish penal system.
According to the IPRT children in care of the State are more likely than other children to end up in conflict with the law, more likely to become criminalised, and more likely to end up in detention, and ultimately prison. The profoundly negative cycle of the criminalisation of young people in care results in poorer outcomes for the individual young person, but also for communities and wider society. The report looks to address the question of the connections between the experiences of care and prison what extent this is the case in Ireland, why this is happening and how we can break this cycle.
The Community Foundation for Ireland has gladly supported the IPRT with this vital research and other projects. Since 2004 through both our own funds and from Donor Advised Fund over €270,000 has been granted to the IPRT in numerous strategic grants. The IPRT relies on donations from charitable trusts, individual donations and membership subscriptions to cover operational costs, meaning the support from philanthropy is vital to the work they undertake. The IPRT carries out intensive and in-depth studies that impact many sectors of society; women, families, children and young people, members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as older persons. Established in 1994 it is Ireland's leading non-governmental human rights based advocacy organisation campaigning for the rights of people in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy.
The reports published by the IRPT aim to campaign to raise awareness and change attitudes and policy and inform best practice around these human right conditions. The grant for this fundamental research was given through one of our dedicated Donor Advised Funds, which has and continues to support numerous vital projects for social change across the sector. Commenting on the report in Irish Legal News, Fíona Ní Chinnéide, acting executive director of the IPRT said “there needs to be systematic collection of data and focus on outcomes to inform more appropriate youth justice responses to this cohort of children and young people.” With the support from our generous Donors at The Community Foundation for Ireland the IRPT was able to carry out this comprehensive independent research study that works towards progressive change.
A summary of the recommendations are available here, and if you would like to read the report in full you can find it on the IRPT website here. To learn more about the different type of projects that The Community Foundation for Ireland supports alongside our generous donors you can visit our website at www.communityfoundation.ie or call our office on 01 874 7354.