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Public Service News on 2/7/2022 by Jonah Chester
As lawmakers in Illinois and across the nation consider reforms to the nation’s juvenile-justice system, one country across the Atlantic could serve as a model.
Northern Ireland’s Youth Justice Agency places an emphasis on early diversion, community involvement and restorative justice.
Kelvin Doherty, assistant director of the Agency, said the goal is to keep kids out of police custody and prevent them from building a criminal record.
“Let’s address these concerns and these issues before the police are called, and before they get into a court setting,” Doherty urged.
Doherty pointed out the restorative-justice process can take one of several paths: including a simple apology, community service or mental-health treatment. According to data from the Youth Justice Agency, more than 97% of victims said they are satisfied with the restorative-justice process.