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Publication of Oberstown Annual Report 2016/2017

27th September 2018

The Oberstown Children Detention Campus has released its Annual Report 2016/2017. This is the first report of the Board of Management for the new Campus as established under the Children (Amendment) Act 2015. The report covers an 18-month period from 1 June 2016 to 31 December 2017.

The report, with a foreword by Chair of the Board Professor Ursula Kilkelly, sets out background information about the Oberstown Campus, its developments, achievements and its challenges.

Snapshot data of the young people present in Oberstown during the first quarter of 2017 is presented in the report. All 69 of those present during this period were male. Of these:

  • 36 were on remand;
  • 37 had suffered the loss of one or both parents through death, imprisonment, or no long-term contact;
  • 31 were in care prior to detention;
  • 38 had mental health needs;
  • 54 had substance misuse problems;
  • 49 were not engaging in education prior to the detention; and
  • 25 had some form of diagnosed learning disability.

Among developments highlighted in the introduction are the statutory instrument signed in March 2017 by Minister Zappone whereby all young people under 18 sentenced to detention by the courts are now sent to Oberstown Children Detention Campus and not adult prison. The development of the new €57 million Campus in 2016 is also noted, with reference to the continuation of these refurbishments in 2017.

The Oberstown Children Detention Campus Strategy 2017-2010 was adopted by the Board in Oct 2017, and launched by Minister Zappone in December 2017. The Strategy focuses on five key areas: young people; staff; standards; communication and; accountability. The report notes that plans and operations going forward for the Campus will be driven by these objectives until 2020.

The report also notes that the Board signed off on a statement of restrictive practices (including single separation, physical restraint and use of handcuffs) in October 2017. This is particularly significant in relation to the High Court action taken by five young people detained at Oberstown Campus on the basis that their rights were being infringed upon due to the absence of procedural safeguards. The report notes that measures were “implemented immediately in response to this judgement”, handed down in November 2017.

Regarding the care of the young people in Oberstown, the report outlines the CEHOP model of care in line with the Children Act 2001, and which focuses on: care, education, healthcare, work on offending behaviour, and preparation for leaving Oberstown. Participation of young people in decision-making regarding their own care is also outlined in a strategy which was approved by the Board in October 2017, and is noted as being in line with both national policy and Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The report also mentions an incident in 2016 involving extensive fire damage and highlights measures taken to enable the Campus to move forward in both a supportive and developmental manner that is in line with international best practice and standards.

Read the full report here.

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