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. On 7th April 2017, Minister for Justice and Equality, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald TD officially closed St. Patrick’s Institution.

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

Call For Submissions: Addressing the Over-Representation of Children in Care in the Criminal Justice System 16th March 2018

The Irish Penal Reform Trust has commissioned research on the over-representation of children in care or with care experience in the criminal justice system. Read more

2016 Report on the Garda Diversion Programme 20th February 2018

The Department of Justice and Equality has published the 'Annual Report of the Committee Appointed to Monitor the Effectiveness of the Diversion Programme 2016' Read more

Oberstown Campus: Report Finds Supportive Education for Students 19th February 2018

Oberstown Children Detention Campus was praised in the Department of Education report for commendable student support and high quality teaching. Read more

UK: Youth Justice Statistics 2016/2017 25th January 2018

Youth Justice Statistics for 2016/2017 published by the Youth Justice Board and the Ministry of Justice. Read more

Education of Children in Detention and Care – Department of Education and Skills 2013 to 2015 7th December 2017

A review of Education of Children in Detention and Care published by the Department of Education and Skills in 2017. Read more

Invitation to Tender: Breaking the Care to Prison Pipeline 24th November 2017

IPRT is now inviting tenders for the research and production of a report examining the reasons for the over-representation of children in care, or with experience of care, in the criminal justice system in Ireland. Read more

IPRT calls on Government to introduce legal framework regarding single separation for children 7th November 2017

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) has called on the Government to introduce a legal framework governing the holding of children in single separation. IPRT made the call in light of a High Court judgement delivered today (06.11.17) in a case taken by four young males against Oberstown Children Detention… Read more

HIQA Publish Report on Oberstown Children Campus 3rd August 2017

The Health Information and Quality Authority published a detailed report of an inspection of Oberstown Children Detention Campus which was carried out from the 27th - 30th March 2017. Read more

More regular inspections needed during “turbulent transition” at Oberstown – IPRT 3rd August 2017

IPRT welcomes the publication by the Health Information and Quality Authority of its comprehensive and detailed report on an unannounced inspection of Oberstown Children Detention Campus, conducted 27 March 2017. IPRT also welcomes the Action Plan by Oberstown management in response to identified issues. Read more

UK: The Howard League for Penal Reform and the Transition to Adulthood (T2A), 'Judging Maturity: exploring the role of maturity in the sentencing of young adults' 18th July 2017

A new Report by The Howard League for Penal Reform and the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance calls on sentencing council to work towards developing formal sentencing principles for young adults, similar to the principles that are already in place for sentencing children. Read more

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