The Case for Investment in Prevention and Early Intervention

Murphy, C. (2010). The Case for Investment in Prevention and Early Intervention.
Crime cannot be viewed as a social problem in isolation from deeper social and economic issues. Understanding and responding to offending behaviour is a complex issue. There is no one ‘cause’ and no single solution; consequently one-dimensional approaches are unlikely to produce results. The Irish criminal justice system is spending increasing and wasteful amounts of scarce resources with poor results in reducing crime, when modest investments in under-resourced communities would have greater positive effects in reducing offending, as well as producing wider social benefits. What Ireland needs now is long-term vision and radical and fresh thinking about this issue. We need to heed what the evidence is telling us and take a coordinated approach to tackling social exclusion. In particular, emphasis needs to shift from an almost exclusively punitive reaction to crime to one that is preventive, progressive and ultimately more effective. The review of the literature presented here makes a strong case for making the shift in resources from criminal justice to social justice, thereby creating better communities and a safer society for all.