A ground-breaking Irish youth Justice project, delivered by  Extern, has been recognised with a prestigious international award for its work in helping transform the lives of young people facing custody in Ireland.

Extern was commissioned to carry out the Bail Supervision Scheme (BSS), which is funded through Ireland’s Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA). The BSS has just received the 2019 Community Corrections Award at the Correctional Excellence Awards in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The awards are organised by the International Corrections & Prisons Association (ICPA).

 The BSS has been recognised for “exceptional work and innovative approaches in supporting offenders in the community”. Since its rollout in 2016, the project has gained support from key figures within the youth justice system, including the courts, policing and probation. 

The Bail Supervision Scheme was created to offer courts an alternative option to detention for young people who had come before them. It offers judges a possibility of granting bail, with intensive supervision, within their home and community environments. It is aimed at supporting young people to be at home, in education, training, or employment, and to remain out of trouble with the law. Central to the project is the use of Multisystemic Therapy (MST).  A globally-evidenced intervention, it supports the young person, and their family, to make positive behaviour changes and to reduce levels of anti-social behaviour.

 Charlie Mack, CEO of Extern, said: “Working with people who are vulnerable and, sometimes, also hard to reach, is central to Extern’s work as an organisation. Our vast experience of engaging families has been key to the successful outcomes of the Bail Supervision Scheme to date. We know that often there are no easy solutions to many of the problems faced by these young people, but programmes like this enable them to see a different and more positive future. I want to thank the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and our partners in the Children’s Court, Probation Service, Oberstown Children Detention Campus and An Garda Síochána for their support in enabling this project to not only transform young people’s lives for the better, but also to help make our communities safer.

 “We are very proud in Extern to have received this award as it reflects the hard work and dedication of our staff, and highlights our commitment to transforming lives and transforming society.”

 Further information on the Bail Supervision Scheme is available at www.extern.org/bail-supervision-scheme