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:
15 July 2008 We're not a court for holding people while authorities are wandering around trying to find out people's identities
16 July 2008 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 'He's a child, judge . . .' Ms Finan said. '. . . and that's what makes it all the more shocking,' Judge Leonard interjected
21 July 2008 The boy shook his head angrily and stared at his solicitor
22 July 2008 She was extremely intimidating and verbally abusive. She threatened to stab one member of the care staff in the neck
23 July 2008 '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 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