IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Round-Up: Closure of St. Patrick’s Institution & Ministerial Order ending the sentencing of children to adult prison in Ireland

10th April 2017

On Friday 7th April 2017, Minister for Justice and Equality, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald TD closed St. Patrick’s Institution. On Thursday 30th March 2017, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD signed a Ministerial Order ending the sentencing of children to adult prison in Ireland.

These are the final important steps towards ending the damaging practice of placing children in adult prisons in Ireland, which persisted in Ireland in breach of international human rights standards. It will also see the name of St Patrick’s Institution “consigned to history”, as recommended by the late Inspector of Prisons in 2012.

Since 1994, IPRT has played a central role in maintaining pressure on Government to end the detention of children in the prison system in Ireland. You can read about some of the actions and activities by IPRT over many years here.

In 1985 the Whitaker Committee’s examination of the Irish penal system said St Patrick’s should close. Others who have been particularly critical include the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the Inspector of Prisons, the Ombudsman for Children, and the Special Rapporteur for Child Protection. Advocacy groups who have campaigned for reforms along with IPRT include Barnardos, EPIC and the Children's Rights Alliance.

For more on these issues: