The Irish Times reports today on recommendations from the Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan, who has called on the next government to close St. Patrick's Institution which detains children and young people aged between 16 and 21.
The article highlights findings on the report by the Ombudsman, which was published this week, entitled Young People in St.Patrick's Institution.
A particular focus of the article was the conditions in which children were being held:
Young people at St Patrick’s interviewed by the ombudsman’s office for the report voiced concerns for their safety. “Can’t say I do feel safe, but I don’t feel threatened either,” said one. Another inmate said: “It’s a prison . . . You can’t seem to feel safe in a prison.”
The ombudsman said she is “deeply concerned” by young people’s accounts about their perceptions and experiences of being placed in a special observation cell, which is known as “the Pad”.
“F***ing freezing! A padded wall, no clothes on you, only a pair of Y-fronts, a pair of knickers,” said one inmate. “It’s horrible . . . the smell of the blankets . . . cockroaches and mice running around . . . sh*te stuffed in the walls,” said another inmate.
The article goes on to quote the director general of the Irish Prison Service saying : “It is very difficult to provide the type of services required by 16 and 17-year-olds in what is essentially a Victorian-era prison.”