Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte has welcomed the announcement by the Children’s Minister that she’s to end the practice of detaining young offenders in adult prisons. However, she has called on Minister Katherine Zappone to outline where these juveniles can be held, and also when she expects the review on Oberstown to be published.
Deputy Rabbitte explained, “The practice of detaining young people in adult prisons is simply wrong and the move away from this system is welcome. There are currently 7 young men, under the age of 18, who are currently being detained in Wheatfield Prison in Dublin. An adult prison setting is not an appropriate setting for a teenage boy and I am pleased that Minister Zappone is introducing a Ministerial Order to end this practice.
“However, I have grave concerns about the number of youth detention places available in the State. The Oberstown facility, which is the main youth detention centre, is unfit for purpose. There have been ongoing violent incidents, attacks on staff and industrial relations issues, and there are serious problems with resources. It is not feasible to place additional youths in the unit at this point in time.
“Minister Zappone ordered a review of operations at Oberstown last September but to date there has been no interim report or update on its progress. This is highly unsatisfactory. I am calling on the Minister to clarify when the report is expected to be published and what efforts are being made to improve the situation at the north County Dublin facility”.