Prisons Bill completes all stages in the Oireachtas

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Legislation to allow for the closure of St Patrick’s Institution has completed all stages in the Oireachtas.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the passing of the Prisons Bill marked an “historic day for penal reform in Ireland” by delivering on long-standing calls to close the institution.

The Prisons Bill repeals statutory provisions that enable Irish courts to order the detention of offenders under the age of 21 in St Patrick’s Institution, and will delete other references to the Institution from the statute book.

It will now go to President Michael D Higgins to be signed into law.

Ms Fitzgerald said: “Under the Children’s Act 2001, the sentencing of young people to a period of detention is considered a last resort.

“This Government’s unprecedented programme of reform in closing St Patrick’s Institution and developing National Children Detention Facilities at Oberstown will allow young people to be placed in a secure environment that will offer them a better chance – in the words of the Children Act – to take their place in the community as persons who observe the law and are capable of making a positive and productive contribution to society.

“I look forward to the full transfer of responsibility for children in detention to Oberstown, and to St Patrick’s Institution being finally consigned to history, early in 2016.”

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