Under 18s no longer held at Hydebank

Published Thursday, 28 June 2012
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Young Offenders will no longer be detained at Hydebank Wood, the Justice Minister has confirmed.

Under 18s no longer held at Hydebank
It comes into effect later this year. (© UTV)

David Ford said the practice of detaining those under the age of 18 at the south Belfast facility is going to end in November.

They will now be held at Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre in Bangor, Co Down.

"It is my intention that, in all but the most exceptional circumstances, Woodlands will be the sole justice location for the detention of children by 1 November," Mr Ford said.

"This is an issue which I have been lobbied on since being elected Justice Minister and I have given a commitment to move away from the practice as soon as practicable.

"When that work started there were around 20 offenders in Hydebank under the age of 18. That has now been reduced to low single figures."

Hydebank Wood Prison and Young Offenders Centre currently accommodates all young male offenders aged between 17 and 21 years on conviction, who are serving a period of four years or less in custody, and all female prisoners including young offenders.

The Alliance Minister told the Justice Committee on Thursday that he intends to publish an implementation plan against the recommendations after the Assembly summer recess.

"It is my intention to make an Assembly announcement regarding my decisions on the review recommendations early in the Autumn," Mr Ford continued.

"At that stage I also plan to publish an implementation plan showing how and when we intend to achieve full implementation of the agreed recommendations.

"In developing the implementation plan, advice and views from the committee will be vital if we are to be realistic on what can be achieved and by when."

© UTV News
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