Prisons Bill to facilitate closure of St Patrick’s Institution

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has published the Prisons Bill 2015, which facilitates the closure of the St Patrick’s Institution facility for young offenders.

The bill will repeal 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.

Ms Fitzgerald said the bill would deliver on the Government’s commitment to “end the practice of sending children to St Patrick’s Institution”.

It is part of a broader programme of reform for young offenders that has also involved legislation to transfer responsibility for children in detention from the Irish Prison Service to child detention schools at Oberstown.

Ms Fitzgerald added: “The path from St. Patrick’s Institution to Mountjoy Prison has been too well worn over the years. We must interrupt the predictable path of violence and crime and repeat offending progressing to further serious offending and committals in adult prisons.

“This Government’s unprecedented programme of reform in closing St Patrick’s Institution and developing National Child Detention Facilities at Oberstown will allow us to place these young people in a secure environment that will offer them a second chance to be productive people who contribute to society.”

She finished: “I hope that the Prisons Bill will be passed by the Dáil and Seanad quickly, so that St Patrick’s Institution will finally be consigned to history at the earliest possible date.”

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