Why we ask about justice/legal issues

The misuse of alcohol and illegal / un-prescribed substances are harmful to the individual, can lead to a significant increase in criminal activity and can cause substantial victimisation in communities. All agencies within the Criminal Justice System and beyond have a role to play in reducing crime.

The most effective way to achieve our goals is to work with other stakeholders, including Drug and Alcohol and Homeless services, in the process of managing those who have offended and through rehabilitation – working toward our common end-goal of enhanced public safety and social inclusion.

Service Users often face highly complex and often chronic difficulties, including social disadvantage, substance misuse, mental health issues and homelessness, therefore highlighting the need for an interagency response.

The primary criminal justice services are Probation, Prison, Courts and An Garda Siochana

The Probation Service

The Probation Service protects the public and creates safer communities by helping offenders to desist from committing more crime. They have a strong record of reducing re-offending, managing offenders safely in the community and reintegrating prisoners after release.


  • Public Protection.
  • Belief in the capacity of people to change.
  • Probation Officers as change agents.
  • Everyone has the right, irrespective of what they have done, to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • No one agency working alone is as effective as agencies working together.

Engagement in Probation Supervision provides the opportunity for clear assessment of risks and needs associated with substance misuse in the context of addressing criminal behaviour.

The Probation Service provides assessment reports to the court and this includes issues relating to substance misuse.

Individual case management plans are developed providing a targeted response in addressing substance misuse be that through probation supervision, targeted programmes or through referral to appropriate treatment / support services. When appropriate, these interventions are made available through an integrated system of support that also includes education and training, employment, housing, family support, general health and other services.

Referral routes are from the Courts; however, there is on-going interagency engagement as part of assessment and supervision processes.

An Garda Siochana

As Ireland’s National Police and security service, An Garda Síochána has a long established tradition of working closely with communities all across Ireland. By fostering and maintaining effective community partnerships. An Garda Síochána works to achieve a reduction in crime and the fear of crime in communities. The general direction and control of An Garda Síochána is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner who is appointed by the Government.

There are Garda Stations located in communities across the Country.

Irish Prison Service

The Irish Prison Service works with the mission of providing safe and secure custody, dignity of care and rehabilitation to prisoners for safer communities.

Their vision is safer community through excellence in a prison service built on respect for human dignity.

There are a total of 12 prisons nationwide.


The court service has offices nationwide and it function is to manage the courts and to provide facilities for users of the court and to provide a support service to the judges. There are courts operating in most urban centres across the region.

In relation to criminal trials, minor offences are tried in courts of summary jurisdiction called District Courts while a person accused of a more serious offence cannot be tried without a jury: Circuit Court or High Court.

The Constitution also makes provision for the establishment of Special Courts to secure the effective administration of justice where the ordinary courts would be unable to do so. The public are welcome to enter all courts except those displaying the ‘in camera’ sign, which means that the case is not open to the general public.