Minister of State Stanton opens National Conference of the Joint Agency Response to Crime (JARC)
Mr. David Stanton, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, opened the National Conference of the Joint Agency Response to Crime (JARC) this morning at the Law Society headquarters in Blackhall Place, Dublin 7. JARC, which was officially launched in November 2015, is a multi-agency initiative which aims to:
- Develop and strengthen a multi-agency approach to the management of prolific offenders;
- Prioritise such offenders for targeted interventions and supports to address their behaviour; and
- Reduce crime and victimisation in local communities.
The JARC initiative comprises a number of intensive offender management programmes which operate at a local level and are jointly managed by An Garda Síochána, the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service, with active support from the Department of Justice and Equality.
The centrepiece of today’s National Conference was the independent evaluations that have now been completed on the three pilot JARC programmes, along with a comparative ‘desktop’ review (by an expert internal group) of those three evaluations. While it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions given the relatively small numbers of participants and short measurement timeframes, the initial indications are that the pilot programmes have helped to reduce both the frequency and severity of reoffending and, furthermore, have helped some participants to move completely away from crime. More detailed information (including statistical information) to this end can be found in the report of the ‘desktop’ review, which is being made available on the respective websites of the Department, An Garda Síochána, the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service.
Speaking at today’s conference, Minister Stanton said:
“JARC offers an inspiring example of cross-sectoral collaboration towards safer communities and a better future for its participants. Every success achieved under JARC is a genuine ‘win’ for the participant, for their community, for the criminal justice system and, I hope, for victims of crime who may take some comfort in knowing that they and others are less likely to be victimised in the future.”
Conference attendees learned about and discussed a range of topics including the positive impacts of the pilot programmes, developments in how success can be measured in the future, the current state of play with JARC implementation, and further plans and prospects for JARC in the future.
In addition to the lead authors of the various evaluations, speakers at the conference included: Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy (Dublin Metropolitan Region); Mr. Michael Donnellan, Director General of the Irish Prison Service; and Mr. Vivian Geiran, Director of the Probation Service.
The conference was also addressed by two JARC participants who have successfully graduated from their respective programmes. Addressing them directly, Minister Stanton stated:
“I want to thank you both for agreeing to tell us first-hand about your experiences. Your unique, lived experience is invaluable in helping us to help others in the future. I also want to congratulate you both on your achievements. While the JARC programmes provided the necessary supports, you alone took the decision to proactively address the issues that contributed to your past offending. You have shown the courage and determination to tackle these issues head-on and make vital changes in your lives. I hope and sincerely believe that you can both continue along this path and inspire others to follow you.”
Minister Stanton added:
“JARC has been a journey for the agencies involved – who, through their hard work, perseverance and commitment to shared goals, have developed and maintained a strong interagency partnership that did not exist to this extent beforehand and which has delivered real benefits to each agency.”
Notes for editors:
The Final Desktop Evaluation of JARC Pilot Projects – 2018 can be read here
The Joint Agency Response to Crime (‘JARC’) initiative was officially launched in November 2015 by the then Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D. JARC is a strategic offender management initiative between An Garda Síochána, the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service, with the active support and engagement of the Department of Justice and Equality.
The key objectives of JARC are to:
✓ Develop and strengthen a multi-agency approach to the management of prolific offenders;
✓ Prioritise such offenders for targeted interventions and supports to address their behaviour; and
✓ Reduce crime and victimisation in local communities.
Implemented through a number of separate but interrelated local programmes, JARC provides an intensive and highly collaborative approach to the supervision and rehabilitation of prolific offenders in particular areas of Dublin and beyond. Under each of these programmes, An Garda Síochána, the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service proactively collaborate in identifying the offenders causing most harm in a particular area and agreeing interventions to help them to move away from re-offending. The JARC programmes thus offer tailored supports and practical help to participants with addiction, educational, training or other needs, and are implemented with the assistance and expertise of other State agencies as well as community-based organisations.
JARC participants are closely monitored by the relevant agencies at all times. Any negative behaviour, and particular any further offending, is quickly detected and dealt with. This is equally the case with offenders who choose not to engage with JARC.
JARC was piloted under three Dublin-based programmes, as follows:
• STRIVE: This programme is aimed at persons with a history of causing high levels of harm or disruption to a designated area of north Dublin.
• Change Works: This programme is aimed at adult males across the Dublin Metropolitan Region who have a history of violent crime.
• ACER 3: This programme is aimed at persons in the Garda districts of Kevin Street and Tallaght who have a repeated and prolific history of burglary.
In 2017, the ACER 3 programme was extended to a further three regional locations: Dundalk, Waterford and Limerick.
At present there are approximately 115 participants across the various adult JARC programmes. While the programme is not gender-specific, the vast majority of participants are male.
In addition, a pilot Youth J-ARC initiative (Y-JARC), aimed at 16-21 year olds, was launched in July 2017 in locations in Cork and west Dublin. There are five participants in each of these pilot programmes.