IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Youth justice issues at UNCRC

15th January 2016

Ireland is being examined at the UN in respect of its compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

In advance of this hearing, IPRT briefed both the Children’s Rights Alliance and the Ombudsman for Children’s Office on the key issues that need to be addressed at the hearing from IPRT’s perspective, namely:

  • the ongoing detention of 17-year-old boys in adult prisons in Ireland, including Wheatfield Place of Detention
  • the overuse of detention on remand for children
  • the overuse of single separation of children
  • the need to invest in alternatives to detention in order to ensure that detention of children is only ever as a last resort 
  • the need to focus on meeting the rights and needs of children of prisoners

IPRT's formal submissions were included as part of the Children’s Rights Alliance Parallel Report (see relevant issues pp. 102-106). IPRT also met with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs before Christmas to again push for progress on these issues in advance of the hearing.

IPRT is pleased that the UN Committee raised several questions on these issues with the State delegation. We look forward to the Committee’s Concluding Observations, which will be issued on 4 February 2016.

We also note positive developments announced earlier this week by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly TD, that bail supports and services will be introduced to address the high numbers of children remanded to detention. 

Read more:

Bail Supervision Scheme

The tender envisages therapeutic supports in the community for children who are subject to bail conditions. The aim of the scheme is to reduce the need for a court to place young people in custody where they're alleged to have been involved in criminal behaviour, while being remanded on bail pending criminal proceedings.

Learn more