Criminal Law Solicitor

Young people in Custody & Mental Health

Over half of Oberstown Detainees have mental health needs


Luke Staines, Solicitor examines a new report from Obertstown Detention Centre in this update.

A new report by Oberstown Children’s Detention Centre has revealed some startling figures about the young people sent there. The centre provides care and education for under-18s with the objective of reintegrating them into their communities. 92 children were sent to the detention centre in the first three months of 2018 for a variety of offences including criminal damage, breaches of the road traffic acts and most commonly theft and fraud offences.

According to the report 52% of the detainees were identified as having a mental health need.  The Deputy Director and Head of Care Services, Lena Timoney, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that an inter-agency approach was needed to address the needs of these young people.

She stated that detention does not necessarily mean total desistance from offending for young people. This is certainly the case as according to Garda Sergeant Eoin McDonnell when he was giving evidence in the children’s court in February of this year there have been 82 incidents at Oberstown over the past two years.

One positive factor in the detention of these children is that it offers them an opportunity to engage with services that they may not avail of in the community. 49% of the young people were not engaged in education prior to arriving in Oberstown. Ms. Timoney stated that the report shows that for the first three months of 2018, all of the young people in detention were engaged in education while they were in Oberstown.

Ms. Timoney said a number of community-based stakeholders will come together to look at the data contained in the report to explore how a multi-agency approach can be taken to address the complex characteristics of the children, address their care needs and area of risk in order to assist them from re-offending.