Irish Penal Reform Trust

Progress in ending detention of children in St. Patrick's Institution as final 16 year old released, but uncertainty remains for 17 year olds

6th August 2012

IPRT has welcomed the release of the final 16 year old from St Patrick's Institution, but urges for immediate action to be taken in relation to the detention of seventeen year old boys.  In the Irish Examiner ('Call to speed up release of 17-year-old boys from jail', 7th August 2012), IPRT's Executive Director, Liam Herrick said, "Since the commitment to end the imprisonment of children was announced in April, both the Prison Service and the IYJS [Irish Youth Justice Service] deserve great credit for the speed with which they have achieved removing 16-year-olds from St Patrick’s." Uncertainty exists in relation to the future accommodation of 17 year olds; "In the short term, all possible steps must be taken to reduce the numbers in detention through bail supports and use of community sanctions. There are also urgent child protection issues at St Patrick’s including around staff training and aftercare." 

The detention of children in St Patrick's Institution fails to comply with international human rights standards, and has long been criticised by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. A new detention facility for children is expected to be opened in 2014.

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Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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