IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Youth Justice

Artane Industrial School

In accordance with international human rights standards, and in particular in line with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, custody for children should only be used as a last resort and for the minimum required period of time. International law stipulates that all efforts should be made to apply alternatives to detention to ensure that such a measure is only used in exceptional circumstances.

In Ireland, the Children Act 2001 recognizes the principle of detention as a last resort. The Act prohibits the imprisonment of children and the Criminal Justice Act 2006 amends the 2001 Act to make provision for all children less than 18 years of age to be detained in Children Detention Schools under the auspices of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. In 2007, responsibility for existing Children Detention Schools was transferred to the Irish Youth Justice Service, which, in turn, transferred to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs at the end of 2011.

A vital part of  IPRT's work has been to remove children over 16 years from St Patrick’s Institution, part of the prison system. The practice of detention of boys between 16 and 18 years of age in St. Patrick’s institution has been criticised by national and international organisations on a continuous basis.

In 2012, following years of sustained advocacy by many organisations, including IPRT, along with national and international bodies, the detention of boys aged under 17 at St Patrick's Insitution ended, with a commitment to end the detention of 17 year old boys in the prison by 2014.

We continue to work towards the change in this policy, and continue to engage in wider policy and practice issues relating to youth justice, such as provision of alternatives to detention, diversion and early intervention programs.

HIQA follow-up inspection at Oberstown Children Detention Campus 23rd October 2015

HIQA releases report on a follow-up inspection of Oberstown Children Detention Campus. Read more

UK Report: Report into the deaths of young people in custody 20th October 2015

A report entitled “Changing Prisons, Saving Lives Report of the Independent Review into Self-inflicted Deaths in Custody of 18-24 year olds” published in July 2015 examines in detail the lives of 87 young people (four children and 83 young adults aged from 18 to 24) who died between April 2007… Read more

IPRT welcomes passing of Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 21st July 2015

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) welcomes the passage today of the Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 as another important step towards ending the detention of children in adult prisons in Ireland. Read more

UK: Helping young people leaving custody 2nd July 2015

Beyond Youth Custody Programme (UK) has released a new report which exemplifies how re-offending rates remain high due to lack of support for helping young people get their lives back on track. Read more

IPRT welcomes extension of youth diversion projects and initiatives 15th May 2015

IPRT welcomes two announcements in the area of youth justice this week by Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald TD. Read more

Turnaround Youth - Launch 12th May 2015

IPRT launched our Turnaround Youth Project and Report on Tuesday 12th May 2015 in the Irish Film Institute, Dublin 2. Read more

Turnaround Youth: Young Adults (18-24) in the Criminal Justice System 12th May 2015

This IPRT report presents the case for the differential treatment of young adults aged 18-24 who come in contact with the criminal justice system, and is grounded in emerging evidence, best practice, and informed by input from young people with experience of the issues. Read more

Morning Ireland: Criticism of delays in progress of Oberstown 26th March 2015

Why has it taken so long to end the detention of under 18s in adult prisons? Read more

HIQA inspection report of Oberstown children detention school campus 25th February 2015

IPRT welcomes the publication by HIQA of its reports on two inspections of the Oberstown children detention school campus, which took place 28-30 October and 4 November 2014. The inspection reports were published alongside an Action Plan, which includes details on actions already taken to address issues of concern. Read more

The Children's Rights Alliance Report Card 2015 23rd February 2015

The Children's Rights Alliance (CRA) have published their Report Card for 2015, which analyses and assesses the government's performance in addressing and fulfilling their stated commitments for children in the Programme for Government. Read more