28 Mar 2017
Children’s Rights Alliance Welcomes an End to Placing Children in Adult Jails
The Children’s Rights Alliance has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD that she will shortly introduce a Ministerial Order to end the detention of young offenders in adult prisons.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance: “Adult prison is no place for a child, yet at last count, there were seven 17-year-old boys serving a custodial sentence at Wheatfield Prison, an adult facility in Dublin. We welcome this development, which is long overdue. This Ministerial Order must now be progressed swiftly so no child in Ireland is ever again put behind adult bars.
The placement of children at Wheatfield was commenced in 2013 as an interim measure following the promised closure of St. Patrick’s Institution. It was pledged to move all under-18s to the new National Children Detention Facility at the Oberstown campus in Dublin by the end 2014. This blot on Ireland’s human rights record has been criticised for many years by the Inspector of Prisons, the Ombudsman for Children and the Special Rapporteur for Child Protection, Prof. Geoffrey Shannon.
The Government must now move to ensure that boys will no longer be detained on remand in adult prisons. At present there are a small number who are being held on remand overnight sometimes in St Patrick’s Institution. Children on remand are detained by a court but have not yet been tried for an offence.
Today’s development is the ideal opportunity to remove Ireland’s reservation to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which provides that young people accused of a crime should be detained separately from adults.”
For further information, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications & Development Manager
01 662 9400 / 087 655 9067
Note for Editors
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive is available for interview.
• Relevant articles within the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Article 3, the best interests of the child; Article 37, to ensure that children detained by the State shall be separated from adults; and Article 40, the right of every child who has infringed penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of a child’s sense of dignity and worth, thereby promoting the child’s reintegration into society.