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How does the State now treat those in its care or custody? (Particularly after the revelations of past abuse)


Con Gallagher

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How does the State now treat those in its care or custody? (Particularly after the revelations of past abuse)

How does Ireland treat those in its care/custody/its guests?

Over the last number of years, there have been reports in Magdalene laundry inmates, those in industrial schools, children's homes etc. Things have obviously improved from the bleak days of the 1950's eg human rights legislation, mental health tribunals, prison inspectorate, children's ombudsman, oversight of nursing homes, media reporting, Oireachtas questions and better understanding in society.

But how is the State managing with the large numbers which are still in its care?
Are there any lessons to be learnt from the past?
Which areas need improvement?
What is of greatest concern?


Numbers:
1. The current prison population is 4,275 (4th Dec 2012)

2. There are 27 children imprisoned in St Patrick's Institution, which is in breach of international human rights standards. (19th Dec 2012.)
There are 222 children and young people in custody in St. Patrick’s Institution. (5th March 2012.)

3. Mental health detainees/patients
2057
Protecting the human rights of involuntary psychiatric patients - The Irish Times - Wed, Apr 11, 2012

4. Children in care (either direct by the State or foster)
6160
Number of children in care up 3% - The Irish Times - Thu, Jul 19, 2012

5. Nursing homes (the vast majority of which are private but subject to State inspections)
22,000-29,000
Nursing Homes Ireland - NHI

6 others eg overnight patients in the health services, asylum seekers, refugees, people in Garda stations overnight, diplomats, visiting state dignitaries, (who else have I omitted and please add any relevant information for the above)




Additional information

1. Prisoners:
Over 70% of prisoners are unemployed on committal and a similar percentage self-report as not having any particular trade or occupation.

1,003 prisoners are required to 'slop out'; 515 of these are in Mountjoy Prison.

Mountjoy Prison (male) held 710 prisoners in a prison that should hold no more than 517 on that day, according to the Inspector of Prisons. (8th March 2011

Just under 30% of prisoners in Ireland are still "slopping out", with no access to in-cell sanitation

http://www.iprt.ie/prison
Prison Reports | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)

2. Children in custody
St. Patrick's Institution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Damning report into St Patrick’s finds forced stripping, excessive force and intimidation

Prison Chaplains say children in St. Patricks Institution cannot be ignored again | Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference

Human rights of St Patrick's prisoners 'violated' - RTÉ News

Children's detention schools | hiqa.ie

3. Mental health
‘We branded people lunatics and locked them away’ · TheJournal.ie

The Irish Times - Mon, Sep 05, 2011 - Revealing the horrific past of psychiatric hospitals

"Behind the Walls" 20,000 Irish People Incarcerated in "A Low Level of Animal Existence" - Politics ~ Irish & International

The state of mental health among Irish prisoners » RCSI Student Medical Journal

4. Children in Care
Number of children in care up 3% - The Irish Times - Thu, Jul 19, 2012

Findings on fatalities of children in care a 'disgrace' - The Irish Times - Thu, Jun 21, 2012

Children in care moved by HSE

Children in Care Statistics - Department of Children and Youth Affairs - Ireland

Children in care

5. Nursing homes
Dáil Éireann - 31/May/2011 Written Answers - Nursing Home Accommodation

Latest Inspection Reports | hiqa.ie
 

Con Gallagher

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One verdict:

Liam Herrick, the executive director of the IPRT, on reports into St Pats:

"That this could happen in the 21st century to children and young people anywhere is shocking. That it could happen in Ireland, with all that we know about institutional abuse and the impact it has on children, is an absolute national disgrace."

Judge Reilly observed:
"On many of my visits to the prison many of the cells were dirty, needed painting and did not have adequate furniture. Many other areas were dirty, unhygenic and with broken equipment. On a number of my visits cells in the Unit were cold. Some had broken windows. I recorded temperatures of 16 degrees Celsius."

"In a significant number of cases, having made a complaint, prisoners then signed a form stating that they did not wish to proceed further with the complaint. I am satisfied from my investigations that threats are made to prisoners and inducements are offered in order that they would not make complaints in the first instance or, if having made them, in order that such complaints would be withdrawn"

Damning report into St Patrick’s finds forced stripping, excessive force and intimidation
 

davidcameron

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1,003 prisoners are required to 'slop out'; 515 of these are in Mountjoy Prison.
Surely, a court would rule that requiring male prisoners to 'slop out' while not requiring female prisoners to do the same is unjustifiable discrimination.
 

spidermom

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Radix

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Said it on many a"child abuse" thread. Its not just historical folks!!


Don't worry, King Kenny will excavate this grave social dysfunction, bless Him.
 

Con Gallagher

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A&E - thanks for pointing that out.
There are any number of number of health scandals...
The Irish Times - Medical Malpractice - 39 more women affected by Neary malpractice
HSE issues apology for breast cancer misdiagnosis - irishhealth.com
Symphysiotomy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(why are women mainly the victims of health scandals?)

More on mental health scandal
Mental health - an ongoing scandal - irishhealth.com
Service users at St Ita's complained of poor conditions on the wards at St Ita's, as well as lack of privacy, lack of psychological interventions, "no-one to talk to" and the lack of shower facilities on the admission wards.

Similar poor conditions were reported in other "Victorian" mental health facilities around the country.

The Inspectorate has said 15 Victorian institutions should only continue to operate on the condition that they provided continually updated and detailed plans for the provision of more suitable accommodation.
 

mickterry

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As a social care worker I have had the misfortune to work in Ballydowd. This is a high secure unit for young people in Lucan Co. Dublin. It is a hovel that would not be allowed to exist in any first world country. Young people are placed in there under a High Court order for their own safety or the safety of others. It has to be seen to be believed.
Now, I am not saying that the kids in there are angels, cause they are not. But this is the wrong place for them and no one cares. When they turn eighteen, they are put back into the community regardless of whether they need help or not. Society has no idea what is been created in this place.
 

Con Gallagher

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As a social care worker I have had the misfortune to work in Ballydowd. This is a high secure unit for young people in Lucan Co. Dublin. It is a hovel that would not be allowed to exist in any first world country. Young people are placed in there under a High Court order for their own safety or the safety of others. It has to be seen to be believed.
Now, I am not saying that the kids in there are angels, cause they are not. But this is the wrong place for them and no one cares. When they turn eighteen, they are put back into the community regardless of whether they need help or not. Society has no idea what is been created in this place.
How far have we traveled from the Industrial school era?

The Ballydowd facility for troubled teens – The Story
A recommendation to improve fire safety procedures at a special care unit in Dublin for troubled young people detained on foot of court orders had still not been acted on when the centre was inspected 11 months later, according to a new report.

[...] a recommendation was made that senior managers should consider adapting bedroom doors in the centre so they opened outward. Fire blankets in the corridors between bedrooms were also recommended. “Neither recommendation was implemented,” the inspectors said.

They were concerned because in the year before the inspection by personnel from the Irish Social Services Inspectorate (ISSI) a young person had set fire to clothing inside her bedroom and was able to barricade herself in because the door opened inwards.
http://www.irishtimes.com/focus/2009/hiqa/index.pdf
Accommodation – individual children
The standard on accommodation for individual children was not met. The bedrooms were of a poor structural standard and there was evidence that, while deliberate damage had been repaired, the overall condition of several of the rooms was poor, and several of the rooms provided a bleak and severe environment for vulnerable children.
Security
The standard on security was not met. Since the last annual inspection there had been several incidents in which the security of the SCU had been compromised by children accessing the roofs of buildings, scaling walls and fences, and escaping. This compromises the SCU’s ability to comply with the court’s order to detain children in order to keep them safe and defeats the general purpose of the unit to provide vulnerable children with a secure environment.
 

Con Gallagher

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We are farming out our modern may Magdelenes to private service providers*


(* I was at a conference yesterday and so I'm stealing a quote from it)
 

Con Gallagher

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Will tonight's sincerely delivered apology by the State, in any way signal better conditions for those who are now in the care/custody of the State or its agents? (Not that I'm comparing the victims of the magdalene slave labour camps to the some of people I mentioned above).

Edit: extract from the Taoiseach's speech (it's obviously not directly on point with the circumstances of those detained/cared for but relevant nonetheless as, perhaps, representing a change in attitude)

Because we can ask ourselves....
for a State
.....least of all a
republic.
What is the ‘value’..........of the tacit and unchallenged decree.... that
saw society humiliate and degrade these girls and women?
What is the ‘value’ of the ignorance and arrogance.... that saw us
publicly call them..... ‘Penitents’ for their ‘crime’ of being poor.... or
abused..... or just plain unlucky enough.....to be already the inmate of
a reformatory, or an industrial school or a psychiatric institution?

We can ask ourselves.... as
the families
we were then...... what was
worthy...... what was good.... about that great euphemism of ‘putting
away’ our daughters......our sisters.....our aunties ?
Those ‘values’.... those failures.. .....those wrongs.....characterised
Magdalen Ireland.

Today.... we live in a very different Ireland with a very a different
consciousness......awareness......
An Ireland where we have more compassion...... empathy.....
insight...... heart.
We do..... because..... at last..... we are learning those terrible
lessons.
We do.... because..... at last.... we are giving up our secrets
We do.... because in naming and addressing the wrong, as is
happening here today, we are trying to make sure we quarantine
such abject behaviour in our past...... and eradicate it......from
Ireland’s present..... and Ireland’s future.
In a society guided by the principles of compassion and social justice
there never would have been any need for institutions such as the
Magdalen Laundries
 
Last edited:

Con Gallagher

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Surely, a court would rule that requiring male prisoners to 'slop out' while not requiring female prisoners to do the same is unjustifiable discrimination.
Courts don't require slopping out - that's caused by overcrowded prisons from the Victorian era being used today. It's fairly basic stuff. The objection to it is not gender discrimination but hygiene, health (including mental health) and the affront to the dignity of the prisoner (tho a few oddballs on this site think that prisoners should lose all human rights).
 
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