In two articles in the Irish Examiner, Cormac O'Keefe reports on the numbers being held on protection across the prison estate, with particular focus on the numbers held on protection in St Patrick's Institution.
In '7% of inmates locked up for 23 hours', O'Keeffe reports that almost 200 prisoners are locked in their cells for 23 hours a day. The article includes comment from IPRT that the number of
inmates on protection is "indicative of the high levels of violence
and intimidation" in Irish prisons.
In a front-page story, '30% of St Pat’s inmates on protection and locked up for over 20 hours a day', O'Keeffe details how St Patrick’s Institution has the highest percentage of inmates on protection compared to any other prison. IPRT's Liam Herrick comments on the figures:
"Being locked up for 20 to 23 hours a day is even more damaging for young adults than for older prisoners, exacerbating mental health issues and restricting access to education and training, which offers crucial routes away from offending behaviour."
"The Ombudsman for Children has found that boys in St Patrick’s are afraid to speak up about mental health issues they are experiencing, out of fear of being held in isolation for long periods. Extended periods of lock-up can amount to solitary confinement-type conditions, and it is a completely unacceptable way to accommodate any prisoners, least of all young people."
Read the articles in full below.
- Irish Examiner: '30% of St Pat’s inmates on protection and locked up for over 20 hours a day'
- Irish Examiner: '7% of inmates locked up for 23 hours'