The Northern Ireland Assembly Justice Committee has expressed concern about the potential implications of the Youth Justice Agency (YJA) draft budget. The possible consequences of the budget were highlighted as the Committee took evidence from the YJA at its recent meeting.
Chairperson of the Committee, Mervyn Storey MLA, yesterday said:
While it is clear that the YJA budget over the next three years will be challenging and require difficult decisions to be made, the Committee is particularly concerned about the implications for the early intervention work the YJA undertakes to divert young people away from the formal justice system.
Much of this work is done in conjunction with or on behalf of other Departments such as Health and Education. The Committee appreciates the benefits of this work and believes that if reduced, as well as having a detrimental effect on a young person's future, it will very likely result in more significant costs in the longer term and therefore prove to be a false economy.
The Committee will be continuing its examination of the draft 2022-25 Justice budget over the coming weeks when it hears from representatives from the PSNI, the Probation Board, the NI Prison Service, the NI Courts and Tribunals Service, the Law Society and the Bar of Northern Ireland.
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