AT one stage or another, we’ve all paid the price for the follies of youth but figures released today show that people aged between 18 and 24 make up a quarter of all people in jail. This seems a matrix of some sort of failure. That more than two thirds of them reoffend just confirms that feeling.
The Irish Penal Reform Trust published a policy document yesterday urging that people in that age bracket get a specific kind of treatment while in prison that might help them recover their lives and avoid returning to prison. It also recommends a wider range of alternatives to custody, including restorative justice and rehabilitation support for those leaving prison.
These suggestions make complete sense and even if they help only a tiny minority of young offenders recover some equilibrium in their lives then they are worthwhile. There is the regular caveat, though: Resources are limited and we cannot always do what we might like to. However, in this instance, these proposals make sense on an economic and human level.
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