Shatter promises to tackle 'borstal culture'
MINISTER FOR Justice Alan Shatter has pledged an end to the “old culture of the borstals in Ireland” in St Patrick’s Institution for Young Offenders in Dublin.
He said 60 per cent of staff had been retrained and the remaining 40 per cent would complete their retraining next month.
The Minister was responding to questions from Niall Collins (FF) and Aodhán Ó Riordáin (Lab) about the report on the institution compiled by Inspector of Prisons Michael Reilly.
“The report raises serious issues and major concerns including weak management, behaviour of some prison staff, the culture in the prison, the inattention to human rights norms, prisoners on protection and prevalence of drugs,” he said.
Mr Shatter said 80 per cent of the inspector’s recommendations had been implemented to date.
“Simply put, the Government will not tolerate this type of abuse,” he said. He said he had visited the institution last March, but the difficulties observed and detailed by Mr Reilly were not readily apparent. He had been in regular contact with the inspector since last May.
It was important, he said, not to lose sight of the fact that the inspector acknowledged that the vast majority of staff in St Patrick’s carried out their duties in a professional manner and the problem lay with a very small minority of staff.
Mr Shatter said the practice of sending 16-year-old boys to the institution had ended on May 1st, and such boys were detained in the children detention facilities in Oberstown. A new detention facility there was due to be completed in mid-2014. He added that Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald was examining the feasibility of accommodating some categories of 17-year-old boys in Oberstown on a phased basis earlier than the completion date.