Unmasking the 'Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector' in Republic of Ireland: towards a Research Agenda
Voluntary sector organisations, known as Community Based Organisations (CBOs), play a pivotal, but as yet under-evaluated role in the Irish criminal justice system. Dr. Katharina Swirak, University College Cork, in her paper, Unmasking the 'Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector' in the Republic of Ireland: towards a Research Agenda, in Irish Probation Journal 2018, explored some of the key issues and debates discussed in the extensive international literature on the criminal justice voluntary sector and how they might be translated into an Irish context.
After presenting the contours of the Irish criminal justice voluntary sector and discussing the difficulties of scoping a complex and diverse field, Katharina Swirak, highlighted key strengths and weaknesses discussed in the international literature. The Irish criminal justice voluntary sector, she explains, ultimately has to be viewed and interpreted as an element of broader Irish penal and social policy. Making it visible as a distinct field of intervention and research is important if we want to highlight some of the sector’s undeniable strengths.
Unmasking the 'Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector' in the Republic of Ireland: towards a Research Agenda was, particularly timely and an important contribution in beginning the process of critically interrogating some of its tensions and contradictions in a way that will ultimately be useful to service users, practitioners and policy-makers alike. It has also influential in the Probation Service and University College Cork’s decisions to participate in the Erasmus+ CoPPer project.
The full article can be accessed and read at http://www.probation.ie/EN/PB/0/0FC2D86C78843D978025834E004A6077/$File/Swirak_Katharina_IPJ.pdf
Dr. Katharina Swirak is Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at University College Cork, Ireland.