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.

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

Le Chéile’s Restorative Justice Project in Limerick 28th January 2015

Evaluation of Le Chéile’s Restorative Justice Project in Limerick reveals returns of nearly €3 for every €1 invested. Read more

Increase in funding for social inclusion measures to tackle youth crime 19th December 2014

IPRT welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Justice and Equality of an increased allocation to the Irish Youth Justice Service Community Programmes, which will see an expansion of Garda youth diversion programmes. Read more

Children's Rights Behind Bars: Report 11th December 2014

Children’s Rights Behind Bars is a collaboration between 16 European and International organisations. Its goal is to increase the respect of human rights of children deprived of liberty and improve the implementation of international juvenile justice standards to protect the rights and needs of incarcerated children. Read more

Catch22: 'Gangs in prison' report 19th November 2014

A report launched by Catch22 highlights the issues of 'Gangs in Prison' in the UK. Read more

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