Who goes to Prison?

Prisoners in Ireland

Ireland imprisons more young people (under 25) than any other European country.

Most of the children and young people that come before the courts, come from a disadvantaged background and have a negative perception of school.

There are serious questions as to whether prison is the proper place for people so young. Until 2013, a large number of children (aged between 16-18) were imprisoned in the adult prison St. Patricks Institution; this is in contravention of Ireland’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A two week daily report of The Children’s Court by Carl O’Brien, of the Irish Times, gives a picture of the types of offences children are being charged with before the courts. Check out the links below:

14 July 2008 pdf Only available care option for boy (12) is out-of-hours hostel


15 July 2008 pdf We're not a court for holding people while authorities are wandering around trying to find out people's identities

16 July 2008 pdf Can I just see my Mam? Please? Judge will you let me see her . . . I need me Ma. Can you not just sentence me now, judge. Please!

17 July 2008 pdf'He's a child, judge . . .' Ms Finan said. '. . . and that's what makes it all the more shocking,' Judge Leonard interjected

18 July 2008 'He sat in a grey hoodie with his arms folded. His legs dangled from the side of the chair, not long enough to touch the ground'

21 July 2008 pdfThe boy shook his head angrily and stared at his solicitor

22 July 2008 pdf She was extremely intimidating and verbally abusive. She threatened to stab one member of the care staff in the neck

23 July 2008 pdf'I want to stay in custody for a while,' said the 17-year-old boy in a weary voice. 'I want to stay for as long as I can'

24 July 2008 'If he's not prepared to take the chances he's been given, why should the court? There are a lot of serious offences here'

25 July 2008 pdf She grabbed me by the hair and was hitting me and I hit her back. Then a copper arrived and I was being abusive then

Next: "Committals to Prison"