The 9th Irish Criminal Justice Agencies Conference, Penal Policy Reform: Putting Community at the Heart of the Criminal Justice System, took place on Tuesday, 10th October 2023.

See Programme information below


The 9th Irish Criminal Justice Agencies Conference, Penal Policy Reform: Putting Community at the Heart of the Criminal Justice System, took place on Tuesday, 10th October 2023 at the Printworks, Dublin Castle.

This annual one day conference is a collaboration of the Department of Justice, Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Irish Prison Service, An Garda Síochána, The Probation Service, Policing Authority, Courts Service, Garda Síochána Inspectorate, Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Parole Board, King’s Inns, Maynooth University, University College Dublin, Limerick University, non-agency Criminal Justice System Actors and the Association for Criminal Justice Research and Development (ACJRD).

The Probation Service was the 2023 Lead Conference Partner.

Criminal Justice policy regularly refers to prison as last resort for those who have criminal convictions. We have had a long tradition in this jurisdiction of community sanctions, that are supervised and managed by the Probation Service. Sometimes such sanctions are viewed in the context of providing a conduit to free up pressure on available prison spaces. However, community sanctions require a discrete focus, thereby valuing them, as opposed to viewing them as just an alternative. That focus was the geneses of the 2023 ICJA Conference. It aimed to explore such themes through perspectives from the Department of Justice, The DPP, the judiciary, An Garda Síochána, European and International Criminal Justice, and those from our voluntary and community sector who work and volunteer, in the context of community safety, to enable rehabilitation, reintegration and desistance.


Programme: The 9th Irish Criminal Justice Agencies Conference

The Conference Programme is available to download here

A conference report is currently being collated and will be available soon.


Speakers: The conference was launched by Minister James Browne, Minister of State Department of Justice with responsibility for Law Reform and Youth Justice, and opened by Mark Wilson, Director, The Probation Service.

Plenary speakers included:

Ben Ryan, Head of Policy for Criminal Justice, Department of Justice; Judge Paul Kelly, President of the District Court; Fergus McNeill, Professor of Criminology and Social Work, University of Glasgow, Scotland; Catherine Pierse, Director of Public Prosecutions; Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, An Garda Síochána; Katharina Swirak, Deputy Head of Department of Sociology and Criminology, UCC.

Thematic breakout sessions speakers included:

Michael Daly, COSA Co-Coordinator, and Gerry Donohoe, COSA Volunteer, Circles of Support and Accountability; Marie Vanasova, Team Leader and Donncha O’Donnchadha Volunteer mentor, Le Chéile Mentoring; Chief Officer Mark Walsh, Mountjoy Prison and Daniel Lambert, Chief Operations Officer at Bohemian Football Club; Dr Martina Moloney, Chair and Janine Bartley, Community Safety Coordinator, Longford Local Community Safety Partnership; Community Access Support Team: Supt Andrew Lacey, Limerick City North and James Harrington, Interim Area Director of Mental Health Nursing, HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare; Emily Sheary, Manager, Restorative Justice in the Community; Diarmuid O'Leary, Barrister; Gerry McNally, Assistant Director, The Probation Service and former President of the Confederation of European Probation (CEP); Catherine Kenny, Policy, Information & Casework Officer, Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas.


Event details

Date: Tuesday, 10th October 2023
Time: 9.30am - 4.45pm (registration 8.30am)
Location: Printworks, Dublin Castle

Chatham House Rule
To encourage openness and the sharing of information, the Chatham House Rule will be invoked at this conference. Audio recordings may be taken of the Conference for office use only in the production of a conference report.

The Chatham House Rule reads as follows: "When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed".