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Closure of St. Patrick's welcome, but strategy for U18s urgently needed
Youth website SpunOut.ie welcome today's announcement by the Minister for Justice that he is to close St. Patrick's Institution for young offenders within six months.
The catalogue of human rights violations for which St. Pat's was rightly criticised (including excessive use of force against prisoners and forced stripping of prisoners) and the failure by management to improve, meant the Minister had no other choice but to close an institution which is not fit for purpose.
"While we welcome the closure of St. Pat's, we would have huge concerns over the transfer of under 18s to Wheatfield Prison, even on an interim basis to a dedicated unit" said Ian Power, spokesperson for SpunOut.ie
"Adult prisons are not suitable for young offenders; these are vulnerable young people, often with challenging behaviour, who need to be cared for and for whom proper education and development facilities need to be put in place".
"Detaining young offenders at an adult facility is not only entirely inappropriate, it is also counter productive to ever having any chance of preventing these young people from re-offending on release".
"This is a short term solution which will create long term problems. We would urge the Ministers for Children and Justice to expedite the development of new facilities at the Oberstown campus which will allow all offenders under the age of 18 to serve their detention period in a suitable, safe and productive environment"
For more information, contact Ian Power on 01 6753554 or 083 148 4527