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From 4 to 8 September 2023, the Latvian delegation, represented by members of the Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Latvia, the State Probation Service, the courts of the Republic of Latvia, the Training Centre of the Latvian Prison Administration and the Norwegian Correctional Service, visited Northern Ireland. 

The purpose of the visit was to find out how the justice system works in issues of youth offender policy in Northern Ireland, Belfast. 

In the framework of the visit there was a meeting with 

  • Kelvin Doherty, Director of the Youth Justice Agency, and the agency representatives, who told about the basic principles and methods of cooperation;  
  • George Conner, District Judge of Belfast Youth Court, and he spoke about the youth justice system in Northern Ireland and pointed out that identifying and working with children and young offenders between the ages of 10 and 17 is different and separate from adult offenders;  
  • Jenny McAlarney, Head of Youth Justice Policy at the Department of Justice, in her presentation "Justice Policy Strategy of Northern Ireland" emphasized the importance of co-operation, restorative justice, reducing traumatic experiences in work with young people, thus promoting a common understanding of "law-abiding life";  
  • Gabrielle Smyth, Head of Youth Policy Belfast Chamber at the National Prosecutor’s Office, and Andrea Dunlop, Senior Prosecutor, explained that the National Prosecutor’s Office is the main criminal prosecution authority in Northern Ireland and makes criminal prosecution decisions in cases investigated by the Police of Northern Ireland, as well as examines cases investigated by other statutory authorities; 
  • in the Belfast Royal Court we obtained a perception about Northern Ireland’s court system: Court of Appeal, Royal Court, Supreme Court. 

In Northern Ireland's Woodland Juvenile Justice Centre, we got to know the everyday life of young people and the way staff works, as well as methods and opportunities in a closed environment. 

Training Centre of Latvian Prison Administration in the exchange visit was represented by Maj. Evija Jansone, Senior Lecturer. 

The exchange visit was organized on the basis of Agreement No.1-6.4/2-2019 concluded on 1 July 2019 between Latvian Prison Administration and Ministry of Justice on the implementation of the Norwegian financial instrument project “Establishment of Training centre infrastructure and model prison block for training opportunities in the Olaine prison territory”, with support of Norway Grants funding.