Irish Penal Reform Trust

Publication of Oberstown Annual Report 2019

23rd July 2020

Oberstown Children Detention Campus (‘Oberstown’) has published its Annual Report 2019.

During 2019 there were 127 individual young people detained in Oberstown on remand or detention orders. Of those:

  • 121 were male and 6 were female
  • 52 young people served remand or detention orders, 60 served remand orders only and 15 young people served a detention order only
  • 24 were members of the Traveller community

Snapshot data of the young people present in Oberstown during the first quarter of 2019 is presented in the report. 75 young people were present during this period, 72 male and 3 female. This snapshot data gives detailed picture of the characteristics of the young people on the campus.

This snapshot data shows:

  • 31% had suffered the loss of one or both parents either through death, imprisonment or no long-term contact
  • 57% were not in engaged in education prior to detention
  • 23% had a diagnosed learning disability
  • 41% had a mental health need
  • 41% were either in care or had significant involvement with Tusla
  • 71% were considered to have substance misuse problem

These data show the challenges facing those in the care of Oberstown. However, these findings are not new; they are consistent with what has been previously published about this group. It is pivotal that these findings are used to inform effective policy responses.

In the Chairperson’s Foreword, Prof Ursula Kilkelly details the progress in the quality of care provided to young people in 2019. This includes decreased use of restrictive practices such as single separation and physical intervention. This progress was also reflected in the most recent HIQA inspection report on Oberstown, published in January 2020. IPRT continues to strongly welcome any reduction in the use of restrictive practices, as experienced by young people in the care of Oberstown, as well as any cultural and policy shift away from the use of restrictive practices.

The report details the ongoing participation and consultation on the campus, ensuring children and young people have a voice in their everyday lives. One development in this area is the establishment of a Campus Council in 2019. The Council promotes participation of young people in Campus decision-making. The report also details the care, programmes, education and training opportunities available to young people in 2019.

Read the full Oberstown Children Detention Campus Annual Report 2019 here.

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



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