Criminal Justice Issues Forum meets with Justice Minister
The meeting provided the groups present with the opportunity to hear the Minister's thinking on a range of current issues relating to the work of DoJ The agenda covered topics including The Justice Bill, Mental Health Capacity Legislation, Women’s Strategy, Youth Justice Review, Prison Reform and Reducing Offending.
Members pressed the Minister on key aspects of his department's work such as proposals to reduce the age of criminal responsibility, slow progress of the mental health capacity legislation, delays in implementation of the Prison Reform recommendations and access for family visits for children of people in detention.
A key theme in the discussion was the department's approach to Section 75, equality and international human rights standards. During the meeting the Minister remarked on the importance he places on engagement that goes beyond formal consultation, and commended the role the organisations present played making representation to him on behalf of the people, communities and families they work with.
Speaking after the meeting, Ronan McGinley, Chairperson of the Criminal Justice Issues Group said “While it’s important that individual members of the group continue to separately brief the Minister on their own priorities, meetings like this allow the voluntary and community sector to show a united front and lobby the Minister on issues that matter to us all. There was an impressive wealth of collective experience and expertise in the room this morning and it was great to engage with the Minister in such a positive and informed way.”
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