The Greentown research project based at University of Limerick has won a major European Crime Prevention award.
The innovative research project is a strategic partnership between UL’s School of Law and the Department of Justice on the design, implementation and evaluation of youth justice interventions.
The pilot initiative is aimed at disrupting recruitment of children by criminal gangs and was awarded first place at the European Crime Prevention Awards on Friday.
The award committee particularly noted that the Greentown project “holds an unparalleled theoretical foundation. It is well designed with a methodological and holistic approach. The project is a good example of a multi-agency approach…. the project is well documented and as a result can be replicated in other countries. Although the project is in its early stages it is considered one to keep a close eye on in the future.”
Receiving the award on behalf of the Department of Justice, Professor Sean Redmond from the School of Law, University of Limerick said: “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the Department of Justice and the University of Limerick. It’s terrific that our work in Ireland has been recognised by crime prevention experts across Europe. We are very happy to share our approach with other jurisdictions.”
Minister of State at the Department of Justice with responsibility for Youth Justice, James Browne TD, offered his congratulations to the REPPP team (Research Evidence into Policy Programmes and Practice project) who developed Greentown.
“The Greentown Project seeks to reduce the effects of crime networks on children in local neighbourhoods and provide a practical route out of criminal activity for those already caught up,” said Minister Browne.
“This is important work, as we know the beneficial impacts of early intervention in these types of situations. The work is also very much a team effort involving scientists from the School of Law, Department officials and An Garda Síochána in particular working very closely together, and I want to offer them all my sincere congratulations, and thanks.”
The Minister also referred to ongoing youth justice initiatives.
“Greentown is one of a number of youth justice initiatives that I want to strengthen and develop in the new Youth Justice Strategy that is being finalised, and that I will bring to Government shortly,” he explained.
“The Strategy will prioritise early intervention and family support, as well as determined efforts to reach those harder-to-engage young people who are most at risk of serious crime and anti-social behaviour involvement, including by being groomed by criminal gangs.
“The Strategy will provide the framework within which we will draw on the full range of programmes that we have in the youth justice area to design tailored interventions to meet the needs of specific communities and cohorts of young people at risk and I am delighted to have UL and the REPPP working with my Department and An Garda Síochána in this work,” added Minister Browne.