Young offenders no longer to be sent to adult prisons

From today young offenders in Ireland will no longer be sent to adult prisons.

Up until now, all 17-year-old boys sentenced by the courts have been detained at Wheatfield, an adult prison in Dublin.

But Children's Minister Katherine Zappone says they will now be held instead at the Oberstown Children Detention Campus in Lusk, County Dublin.

The Minister also announced that St Patrick's Institution, a penal facility for 17 to 21 year olds, is to close fully in a week's time, the 7 April.

Fíona Ní Chinnéide of the Irish Penal Reform Trust has welcomed both developments as the closing of a "dark chapter" in Ireland's treatment of children: "Ireland has received many criticisms for many decades for continuing to send children to prison in clear breach of their human rights.

"Prison is a completely inappropriate and damaging environment to detain children and the detention schools model on the other hand is one of care and education, it is focused on addressing their offending behaviour."

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