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Project targeting repeat criminals over property crime expanded

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Ms. Frances Fitzgerald, T.D. today launched the Joint Agency Response to Crime initiative (J-ARC).   J-ARC is a joint strategy between An Garda Síochána, the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service.

Launching J-ARC the Minister said that, “While it is well known that I am particularly committed to strengthening support for the victims of crime, as Minister for Justice and Equality, I would also like to oversee a system which aims to reduce the number of victims by a reduction in offending. The launch of J-ARC today is an endorsement of the work done by criminal justice agencies and community organisations together in challenging offending behaviour which has at its centre the needs of victims to feel safer in their communities.”

J-ARC: Joint Agency Response to Crime in Ireland

The J-ARC strategy aims to implement a multi-agency approach to the management of crime, to prioritise certain prolific offenders and to develop specific initiatives which will address their behaviour and reduce crime thereby increasing community safety.  J-ARC provides the framework for the programmes that will be part of Operation Thor to help reduce re-offending by prolific offenders. 

Having viewed a visual presentation of the J-ARC initiative the Minister congratulated those responsible for its production and went on to say that, “In Ireland it is estimated that 75% of property crime is linked to 25% of offenders. Targeting this cohort of repeat offenders has the potential to significantly reduce the number of burglaries being committed. While I believe that prison is the right place for serious and serial offenders, listening to the offenders who are participating in the J-ARC programmes clearly demonstrates the real benefit of providing support and hope to those who wish to change their offending ways. A change in a person’s offending ways has a direct effect on reducing the number of crime victims.” 

The important role the community plays in working with offenders, supporting their rehabilitation, reintegration and engagement in a positive lifestyle was emphasised by Minister Fitzgerald  “It makes sense that by targeting identified prolific offenders with cross cutting initiatives like this one, that address their criminal behaviour and the harm it does, crime will be reduced and public safety increased.  These people require a specific programme in the community if they are to make better choices. I  totally endorse this co-ordinated and multi-agency approach.”  

The involvement of Dublin City Council and the Department of Social Protection was also highlighted, the Minister commented that, “Other services outside the justice sector have their responsibilities to assist persons reintegrate and resettle and eventually desist from a life of crime and are crucial to a whole of Government approach that prevents an offending lifestyle developing in the first place. The better use and earlier application of resources, resulting in better outcomes is real reform in public services and something  I would intend to build on.”

J-ARC is an inter-agency response to and co-operation in the management and rehabilitation of offenders involving the Probation Service, Irish Prison Service, and the Garda Síochána working in collaboration with statutory, community and voluntary partners. A Joint Protocol was signed on 21 November 2014. 

The J-ARC Strategy

This strategy confirms the joint commitment of the Garda Síochána, the Irish Prison Service and the Probation Service to target those recidivist offenders who are responsible for the majority of crime. In order to reduce crime and enhance public safety, the nominated prolific offenders will be managed through the co-ordination and integration of policy, practice and research between the organisations. 

·    To develop and further strengthen a multi agency approach to the management of crime 
·    To priorities offenders in order to develop initiatives which will address their behaviour;
·    To reduce crime and increase public safety in local communities

Ballymun STRIVE – targeting prolific adult offenders within East Ballymun whose offending behaviour is undermining the community’s quality of life. Two year pilot programme. 

Bridge Change Works Programme – targeting adult male offenders living in Dublin with a history of violent crime. Two year pilot programme 

Acer3  – multi agency approach to the management of offenders charged with burglary. Two year pilot programme. 

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