Tuesday, 10 March 2015
Department of Justice and Equality
Prison Accommodation Provision
As the Deputy will be aware, the Government is committed to ending the practice of sending children to St. Patrick’s Institution. Significant progress has been made by my own Department and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in fulfilling that commitment. Responsibility for 16 year old boys was transferred from the Irish Prison Service to the children detention facilities at Oberstown in May 2012.
In relation to 17 year old boys, and as an interim measure, since December 2013 all such boys sentenced to detention in St. Patrick’s have been transferred to dedicated units in Wheatfield Place of Detention. Boys aged 17 remanded in custody to St. Patrick’s Institution have had to remain there for legal reasons pending the completion of new children detention facilities at Oberstown and the preparation of the necessary legal instruments to transfer responsibility for such boys to Oberstown.
My Department is also preparing Heads of a Bill to allow for the complete closure of St. Patrick’s Institution and its removal from the statute book. This legislation when it is enacted will mean that the courts will no longer have the power to remand or sentence any person to detention in St. Patrick’s and the Institution can then be closed in full.