The Minister for Justice & Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has published the general scheme of the Prisons Bill, which was passed by Cabinet this week.

The main purpose of the new Prisons Bill is to provide for the definitive closure of St Patrick’s Institution in Dublin.

Originally opened in Clonmel in the 1900s, as a borstal, St Patrick’s Institution moved to a site next to Mountjoy Prison in 1956 as a detention centre for young offenders (aged 16-20). The Inspector of Prisons had raised serious concerns about the safety and appropriateness off “St. Pat’s”, and the Government made a decision, in 2013, to close it. Young offenders will soon be accommodated in the children detention schools to assume responsibility for all children remanded in custody or sentenced to detention.

This bill will repeal statutory provisions that enable the courts to order the detention of young offenders in St Patrick’s Institution and will delete references to St Patrick’s from the statute book. Since the 30th of March, 17-year old males who are newly remanded in custody by the courts have been committed to Oberstown, construction on the development project of which started in 2013.

Read the general scheme of the new Prisons Bill here.

Read the press release from the Department of Justice & Equality here.

You can read the Inspector of Prisons’ Report on St. Patrick’s Institution here.

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