Sometimes it is hard not to despair, not to wonder if we, as a society, will ever learn from our mistakes.
Figures that show that 20% of the young offenders — 44 individuals, including two 17-year-olds — held in St Patrick’s Institution are locked up for 23 hours a day suggest a regime more akin to one of Stalin’s gulags rather than a facility where punishment is matched by opportunity, education and hopefully a life steered away from the kind of crime that means repeated and protracted periods of incarceration.
Even from a selfish point of view society should do much more to try to change these young people. If this 23-hour policy continues it is not hard to imagine what these young people will be like when they return to society — and we will deserve little more for not offering them the opportunity to be something else.
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