On publication of the 2012 Annual Report of the Inspector of Prisons, along with his report entitled An Assessment of the Irish Prison System, on 3rd July 2013, the Minister for Justice announced that St Patrick's Institution is to be closed within 6 months.
IPRT responded to the announcement by calling on both the Irish Youth Justice Service and the Irish Prison Service to ensure that they are in a position to provide adequate and appropriate replacement accommodation for both 17-year-old boys and 18-21 year olds as a matter of urgency.
Moving 17-year-old boys to another prison for anything other than a very short period is not a solution; recent statements by the Ombudsman for Children of her concerns about the progress of the Oberstown project are worrying in this respect.
In relation to 18-21 year-olds, IPRT is concerned that Wheatfield Prison, which is currently overcrowded, does not have adequate education and training capacity for its inmates. IPRT believes that meeting the needs of young adult prisoners must be a key priority in the prison system.
Below is a roundup of press releases, media reactions and discussions following the announcement.
- Dept. of Justice: 'Minister Shatter publishes Inspector of Prisons Annual Report for 2012; An Assessment of the Irish Prison System by the Inspector of Prisons and announces plans for the future use of St Patrick’s Institution'
- IPRT: 'Closure of St Patrick's must be met with necessary action at Oberstown and Wheatfield - IPRT'
- Children's Rights Alliance: 'Alliance Welcomes Government Decision to Close St. Patrick’s Institution'
- JCFJ: 'Jesuit Centre welcomes the closure of St Patrick’s Institution but has concerns'
- Spunout.ie: 'Closure of St. Patrick’s welcome, but strategy for U18s urgently needed'
- RTÉ ‘Drivetime’: Minister for Justice announces St Patrick's Detention Centre for Young Offenders to close (begins 5.09pm, 3 July 2013)
- Today FM, 'The Last Word': St Patrick's Detention Centre for Young Offenders to close Liam Herrick and John Lonergan (begins 4.32pm, 3 July 2013 - link will expire)
- RTÉ ‘Morning Ireland’:Children's Ombudsman to visit Wheatfield prison ahead of closure of St Patrick's (4 July 2013)
- TV3 'The Morning show': Fr Peter McVerry and Liam Herrick (5 July 2013, link will expire)
- The Irish Times - editorial: A confession of failure (8th July 2013)
- The Irish Times: St Patrick’s Institution to close within six months (3 July 2013)
- Irish Independent: Government approves closure of St Patrick’s Institution (3 July 2013)
- RTÉ.ie: Children's Ombudsman welcomes St Patrick's closure (4 July 2013)
- Irish Examiner: Young convicts ‘denied basic rights’ (4 July 2013)
- Irish Examiner: ‘Rigid, inflexible culture’ forces St Pat’s closure (4 July 2013)
- Irish Examiner: ‘The toilet was filthy and full of old excrement and other material’ (4 July 2013)
- Irish Examiner - editorial: St Patrick’s Institution - Correctional facility unfit for purpose (4 July 2013)
- The Irish Times: A Dickensian jail of filth, psychological cruelty and abusive physical treatment (4 July 2013)
- The Irish Times: St Patrick’s to close over ‘very disturbing’ conditions (4 July 2013)
- thejournal.ie: Moving inmates from St Pat’s to adult prison “won’t make one iota of difference” (4 July 2013)
- Irish Examiner: Fears over transfer of young offenders (5 July 2013)
- Irish Independent: Prison service closes centre for young offenders (1 July 2013)