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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 14 October, 2019
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How many children were sent to detention schools this year?

There are three such institutions in Ireland, all based in Dublin.

SOME 132 CHILDREN have been sent to detention schools in Ireland so far this year, compared to 133 for the whole of 2013 and 134 in 2012.

80 children were sent to the institutions from July-September of this year.

At present, there are 43 children in detention schools – 40 male and 3 female.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs James Reilly recently told the Dáil that some of these children were remanded in custody, while others were serving a sentence of detention.

Replying to a parliamentary question asked by Deputy Thomas Broughan, Reilly said that 34 (43%) of the 80 children sent to the schools during the summer had been assigned a social worker.

Of this 34, 12 (35%) have been the subject of a recent care order under the Child Care Acts.

Overall, 13 of the 80 children sent to the detention schools in this period have been the subject of recent care orders, representing 16%.

Reilly said that the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS), which is part of his department, “continues to work to progress its goal to strengthen and develop its evidence base in order to support more effective policies and services for children in conflict with the law, which is one of the goals of the current Youth Justice Action Plan for the period 2014-2018″.

The minister added that the IYJS is continuing to collect “information on children admitted to the children detention schools with regard to their involvement with social workers and/or the care system”.

Three schools

A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs said there is “regular movement” into and out of detention schools as a result of individual decisions made in the courts system.

There are three children detention schools in Ireland – Trinity House School, Oberstown Boys School and Oberstown Girls School. All three are located on the same campus at Oberstown, near Lusk in County Dublin.

The schools provide places for children to be detained in custody in relation to criminal charges.

This can be when a court remands a child in custody or, following a conviction, when a child is sentenced either to a period of detention only or for a period of detention to be followed by supervision in the community by the Probation Service.

A court will generally only send a child to one of the detention schools once it is satisfied that no other suitable option is available.

Reintegration

As set out in the Children Act 2001, the principal objective of the schools is to provide care, education and training for children, with a view to reintegrating them into society.

From 1 January 2012, responsibility for these detention schools transferred from the Minister for Justice and Equality to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Trinity House School and Oberstown Boys School are designated as remand centres for boys under 17 years of age and Oberstown Girls School is designated as a remand centre for girls under 18 years of age.

Last month, the Children (Amendment) Bill 2014 proposed that all three institutions will be amalgamated.

The new legislation will also remove provisions that allow for 17-year-olds to be held in adult facilities.

Read: Three child detention centres to be made into just one

Read: OPW launches tender process for new child detention facility

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Órla Ryan

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