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Tuesday 20 March 2018

Warders at teen prison investigated for bullying offenders

Tom Brady Security Editor

prison officers are at the centre of disciplinary inquiries into allegations of bullying and ill-treatment of young offenders at St Patrick's Institution.

The disturbing incidents were highlighted in a special report by the inspector of prisons, Judge Michael Reilly. But none of the alleged offenders is identified in that report.

Prison officials said last night that some of the disciplinary inquiries were already under way prior to the inspector submitting his report to Justice Minister Alan Shatter last June.

They all deal with specific issues in the institution, rather than the comments in the report, and are ongoing, the officials added. They would not say how many officers were under investigation.

The report was published on Tuesday night, along with an action plan drawn up to sort out the scandal disclosed by Judge Reilly, who said there was a culture of ignoring or violating the human rights of children and young adults in the institution.

Four out of five recommendations put forward by Judge Reilly have now been implemented. The prison authorities have been given a deadline of November 1 to activate the remainder.

But prison chaplains said they were less than optimistic the Justice Department would make the necessary changes. Fr Ciaran Enright, head of the prison chaplaincy team, said any society that took children's rights seriously could not continue to turn its back on the abuse and neglect of children in St Patrick's Institution.

The chaplains were already seriously concerned the prison inspector's report was slipping off the agenda.In their 2010 report they singled out St Patrick's as a "warehouse for young people, many of whom were broken by childhood experiences".

Meanwhile, Children's Ombudsman Emily Logan claimed she was patronised and made fun of by prison officers when she inspected the institution last year. "Effectively, if you have young people who have been in contact with the law, we are not expected to believe what they are saying."


Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty International Ireland said the ill-treatment, bullying, intimidation and excessive punishment of young men and children were a shameful indictment of the attitude to prisoners' human rights of this and previous governments.

The Irish Penal Reform Trust's executive director Liam Herrick said the range of violation of the rights of inmates was so broad he believed the report called into question the viability of continuing to operate the prison.


Irish Independent

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