Young People in St. Patrick’s Institution


In late 2009 and into 2010, the OCO initiated a project with young people detained in St. Patrick’s Institution, a closed, medium security prison managed by the Irish Prison Service which at the time held remand and sentenced young people between the ages of 16 and 21.

The aim of this project was to identify the issues facing young people under 18 detained in St Patrick’s through consultation with them and to bring these issues to the authorities in the Institution and the wider Prison Service in order to improve the situation for the young people until such time as St Patrick’s ceases to be used as a place of detention for young people under 18.

Through the project, we endeavoured to:

  • hear directly from young people about their experiences of detention in St. Patrick’s Institution
  • highlight their perspectives, including their ideas for change, regarding the regime and conditions in the Institution
  • facilitate due consideration, as appropriate, of the young people’s views within St. Patrick’s Institution and at national policy and political levels.

The young people who participated in this project were consulted on a range of issues which were identified with reference to national and international standards on the detention of children. These issues included: the physical environment and accommodation; health care and promotion; education, training and recreation; contact with family, community and the outside world; protection and safety; disciplinary measures; inspections and complaints; and rehabilitation and reintegration.

The OCO’s report presents the findings of this consultation, the Ombudsman for Children’s recommendations and includes a formal response from the Irish Prison Service to the issues raised.

Download Report

Report on Young People in St. Patrick’s Institution

Download Executive Summary

Executive Summary


Watch a short clip from the animation we made to highlight young people’s perspectives on detention in St Patrick’s Institution. The full version of this animation is available on OCO’s YouTube channel



At the publication of the OCO’s Report on Young People in St Patrick’s Institution: Fergus Woods – then Assistant Governor, St. Patrick’s Institution; Emily Logan – the former Ombudsman for Children; Hector McKellian – then Governor, St. Patrick’s Institution; and Colm Barclay – former Governor, St. Patrick’s Institution