New Oberstown strategy launched to improve care for young offenders

Young people in detention in Oberstown will be brought on board to help make decisions as part of the facility’s three-year plan.

The strategy aims to provide the best model of care for the young offenders and enhancing governance.

A series of events over the summer saw a number of youths escape from Oberstown, and significant damage was caused when a fire was set.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone said the strategy will address the problems of the centre.

"The strategy comes out of the fact that a lot of those issues have been addressed. I think we're in a very different place in terms of the environment there and also the staff and working relations with management," she said.

"Obviously there are always going to be challenges and given the fact it is the place that it is," she added.

As published in the Irish Examiner today, most young people who come into conflict with the law in ireland are first admitted to the Garda Diversion Programme.

Only those whose offending is serious or persistent appear before the criminal courts.

In line with best practice, the courts prefer sanctions that keep young people in their families and in their communities to the ultimate sanction of detention.

As a result, the numbers being sent to detention have continued to fall in recent years.

Young people who end up in detention are not only the most serious of young offenders, they are frequently children with complex and acute needs.

In Ireland, these young people are detained in Oberstown Children Detention Campus, the national facility that provides care and education for children referred there by the courts.

"Informed by the principles of the best interests of the child and the right of the child to be heard, and building on a period of consultation with staff and stakeholders, the plan commits the campus to a series of actions that aim to provide young people in detention with care and education that meets the highest international standards," according to the chairperson of the board of management at Oberstown Children Detention Campus Professor Ursula Kilkelly.

KEYWORDS: Oberstown


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