IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Pat Kenny Show: Oberstown detention facility

12th August 2015

This week there has been a flow of negative media coverage about conditions in the new children detention facility at Oberstown, with unhelpful commentary about the young people held there - and little or no reflection on the often chaotic and disadvantaged life circumstances that led to the young people's offending behaviour.

Completely inaccurate factual data was published in some newspapers, for example, overstating the capacity at Oberstown by 100%, and making unsupported comparisons with conditions in Mountjoy Prison in 2006.

To bring some reason into the debate, IPRT's Deirdre Malone spoke to Newstalk FM's The Pat Kenny Show about children in detention in Ireland, and why prison is a completely inappropriate place for under-18s.

Listen back here. (Item starts just after the midday news.)

IPRT is clear that the children detention facility at Oberstown must be adequately staffed and resourced, and staff must be supported with regular and appropriate training. The current period of transition must be managed, and managed well - but suggestions that we should revert to the dark chapter that is imprisonment of children in St Patrick's Instn. are not guided by what works to reduce reoffending by children and young people.

IPRT also believes that the regular publication by the Irish Youth Justice Service of  statistical information would go some way towards addressing the information gaps in the public arena.