• Mairead SeymourEmail author


The juvenile justice system in Ireland has developed slowly against the backdrop of the Children Act 2001 which is the first major legislative reform of juvenile justice since the 1908 Children Act. The ethos of the legislation promotes the diversion of children from the justice system, penalties that have the least restrictive impact on children’s legitimate activities and the use of detention as a measure of last resort. The system follows international juvenile justice trends in combining a dominant philosophy (welfare) with a hybrid mix of other influences including restorative justice, actuarial justice, rehabilitation, reintegration and rights-based approaches. A notable feature of the Irish system, and reflecting its welfare ethos, is the high levels of discretion afforded to criminal justice managers and practitioners in their decision-making in children’s cases. The modest size of the detention population is a positive outcome of juvenile justice reform to date. The National Children Detention Centre which is due to be fully operational in the latter part of 2016 marks a significant milestone in the development of the juvenile justice system in Ireland by ending the practice of detaining children in adult facilities.


Diversion Caution Probation Detention Discretion Ireland 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Languages, Law and Social SciencesDublin Institute of TechnologyDublinIreland

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