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Young people in St Patrick’s Institution 2010

A project with young people in prison to find out about the issues they faced in St Patrick’s Institution.

What was it?

We spoke to young people in prison to find out about the issues they faced in St Patrick’s Institution and to bring them to the attention of authorities. The aim of this report was to make a difference and to improve things for young people.

St Patrick’s Institution was a closed, medium security prison for young men aged 16-21 which was still operating despite best practice stating that children under the age of 18 should be detained in a separate centre solely for children.

Who took part?

A group of 22 young people signed up to take part and spoke about different aspects of their lives in St Pats. They spoke about their education, healthcare, contact with family, protection and safety and how complaints are handled, among other things. To cater for all needs, the group worked with an artist to be able to express themselves through drawing or through group discussion. The drawings they made were developed into the short film below.

What did they say?

This trailer gives an idea of what the young people had to say. The full film ‘Views from the Inside’ (13.57) can be found here.

What did we do after the consultation?

We wrote a report called ‘Young People in St. Patrick’s Institution’ that highlighted the issues shared by those we spoke to. We made many recommendations on how to improve matters in St Patrick’s Institution.

The main issue we highlighted in this report is that no child under the age of 18 should be detained in St Pats as it wasn’t suitable, as per international best practice.

Read the full report on young people in St. Patrick’s Institution here, or the have a look at the executive summary.

What has happened since?

On 7 April 2017, the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD announced the closure of St. Patrick’s Institution. All 17 year olds are now committed by the Courts to the Children’s Detention Centre at Oberstown, rather than to St. Patrick’s Institution.

In March 2017, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, announced the closure of Wheatfield prison, also an adult prison where young people had been detained.