Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Participation in conference
Double Justice: Young People's Experiences of Formal and Informal Justice
Northern Ireland is approaching the 20th anniversary of ceasefires by the main Loyalist and Republican paramilitary organisations. Throughout the Conflict, and as a consequence of a lack of consensual policing, an alternative informal justice system operated in some areas whereby paramilitary organisations were ‘authorised’ to police communities - providing ‘protection’ from external threats and ensuring ‘appropriate’ behaviour within. Despite the signing of peace agreements, demobilisation, the formation of a new police service and the devolution of policing and criminal justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly, there is evidence of the continued use of ‘paramilitary policing’ within local communities.
This paper draws on findings from ongoing qualitative research with young people who have been dealt with in the formal criminal justice system and who have also been met with ‘informal’ community justice. It considers how some of the most marginalised young people within this society experience this form of ‘double justice. Set alongside this lived reality the disjuncture between official discourses of rights, restoration and responsibilisation are highlighted. The question of how young people make sense of justice and legitimacy within this context is also critically considered.