NI Youth Justice Agency publishes corporate plan for next three years
Northern Ireland’s Youth Justice Agency (YJA) has published its corporate plan for 2022–25, which sets out its planned work to prevent children from being drawn into the criminal justice system.
Justice minister Naomi Long launched the corporate plan during a visit to Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre, which works with 10 to 17-year-olds who have been placed in custody.
Staff at the Bangor facility provide support for up to 48 boys and girls, helping them to address their offending behaviour, diverting them from crime and assisting their integration back into the community.
Mrs Long said: “My visit to Woodlands has allowed me to see at first hand the important work being done with young people. I met with staff who are enthusiastic and committed in their belief that they can help those young people make life-changing choices through a wide range of health, education and recreational services.
“By delivering interventions designed to address offending behaviour and raising victim awareness, we are reducing the risk of reoffending and setting young people on a path to a better life in their own community. However, there remains a continuing need for a multi–agency partnership approach to deliver interventions for vulnerable young people, as well as a wider cross-Departmental response to tackle the underlying societal issues that lead to offending.”
The new corporate plan sets out the strategic direction for the development and delivery of the YJA’s services over 2022–25, and features some of the award-winning artwork produced by the young people in Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre.
Mrs Long said: “This plan reflects the agency’s mission ‘to reduce offending by supporting children to achieve their full potential’. It provides the basis for delivery of services both in the community and custody to achieve better outcomes for children who have offended, or are at risk of offending, for their families, victims and the wider community.”
The Department of Justice said the priorities within the corporate plan “closely align” with the Strategic Framework for Youth Justice 2022-27, which was published in March 2022, and collectively provide a series of comprehensive actions to prevent children from being drawn into the criminal justice system.