Written Answers. - Youth Services.

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

272 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Education and Science the proposals, if any, he has to deal with young offenders who are persistently offending and out of control; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13597/99]

My Department's responsibility in respect of the young people in question relates to the provision of residential accommodation in custodial facilities for those who been placed on remand or sentenced to detention by the courts. There are five such facilities operating under my Department at present. Four of these facilities cater for young male offenders and one caters for young female offenders.

My colleague Deputy O'Donoghue, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, is currently preparing new legislation on juvenile justice. This legislation will contain a comprehensive range of measures to deal with the issues to which the Deputy refers. In addition to updating provisions relating to young persons who have been sentenced to detention by the courts, the legislation will provide for a wide range of early interventions and non-custodial alternatives to cater for children coming into conflict with the law or with serious care needs.

Development plans have been drawn up by my Department to meet the obligations which will arise under the new juvenile justice legislation in relation to custodial provision.
The health authorities are also engaged in the development of a range of high support units to cater for out of control children who have not been convicted of offences but for whom structured residential placement is required.