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Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs)

In addition to the GJDP, the IYJS in conjunction with An Garda Siochana, fund a network of 110 crime prevention projects known as Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDP) across the country. These projects which are delivered by community-based organisations target children aged 10-17 years who are deemed ‘at risk’ of offending or children who are subject to a caution. The projects aim to divert children from crime through promoting personal development and civic responsibility. In contrast to the discourse underpinning other aspects of the juvenile justice system, the policy documentation for the GYDPs emphasises ‘actuarial principles of risk and behavioural management and control: specifically, potential threats posed by children to social order’ (Convery and Seymour 2016:252). Government funding to the networks of community-based organisations who deliver the projects is contingent on the completion of annual plans which requires police data on children’s offending behaviour in the area, aggregated risk assessment data, and information on the project’s ‘success’ in reducing impulsiveness, improving children’s levels of empathy and improving pro-social behaviour (IYJS 2012a, b). These requirements represent a previously unfamiliar approach to the governance of children ‘at risk’ in the Irish context. They highlight individual explanations for crime without corresponding consideration for the broader social contexts where children live and associate. Furthermore, as Swirak (2015:16) describes ‘projects are now positioned as vehicles to enhance surveillance over young people in their respective neighbourhoods’.

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