Friday 19 January 2018

International team to investigate security issues at Oberstown

Oberstown detention facility
Oberstown detention facility
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

International experts will conduct a review of the Oberstown Children Detention Campus following a series of high-profile security incidents.

Professor Barry Goldson, a child law expert from the University of Liverpool, and Professor Nicholas Hardwick, who is chair of the UK's parole board, will visit Oberstown in the coming weeks to speak with staff, detainees and management.

The Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, announced the review saying she hoped it will "resolve many of the problems at the youth detention facility".

“A number of serious incidents and industrial action by staff at the Campus have highlighted the need to reflect on the progress achieved and to identify and address any obstacles to the necessary future reforms.

"I believe this review is timely and I look forward to receiving the findings so as we can ensure that we can ensure the safety of all at Oberstown and at the same time end Ireland’s abysmal record of placing children in adult prisons."

The review comes after a number of issues at the youth detention centre.

Recently staff took industrial action after they raised concerns about their health and safety, as well as a rooftop protest during which a member of staff was injured, and a fire at one of the buildings at the campus.

Read More: Claims of teen solitary confinement rejected: Oberstown

The Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust, Deirdre Malone, told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that she hoped the review will allow the centre to focus on education and care.

She said she was glad to see that children at the facility and staff will be consulted and added that it was crucial that all parties involved in the review had confidence in the process.

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