HMP Eastwood Park was a Detention Centre for young boys between the ages of 14 and 17 which opened in 1964 in South Gloucestershire.. There have been a number of allegations, made by former inmates, of historic abuse between the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Avon and Somerset Police commenced an investigation into these allegations. One of the main perpetrators was former prison officer, Patrick Devaney, now aged 81. He was convicted of misconduct in a public office in February 2023 after a trial at Bristol Crown Court where 22 former detainees gave evidence. His sentencing was delayed due to his poor health, but he received a sentence of three-and-a-half years in prison. He will serve half of his sentence in custody and half subject to licence with conditions.

Victims of the abuse attended the trial and gave evidence as to regular beatings from Devaney with a cricket bat, a length of rubber hose he called "Mabel", or a metal ruler. This occurred during the time when the Government had in force a "short, sharp shock" treatment for punishing young offenders.

Who Is Patrick Devaney of Eastwood Park?

Patrick Devaney worked as a prison officer at Eastwood Park Young Offenders' Institution in South Gloucestershire from 1970 to 1983. During his tenure, Devaney worked as a gym officer, responsible for overseeing the day to day of the centre’s gym facility. This allowed Devaney close access to many juvenile detainees, who would go onto become victims of abuse within Easywood Park Detention Centre.

What Abuse Did Patrick Devaney Carry out?

Devaney was convicted of abusing his position to physically and emotionally mistreat boys aged 14 to 17.

Patrick Devaney's methods of discipline included punching the boys within the detention centre, as well as forcing them into strenuous exercise routines. These routines swerve so extreme that they often led to physical exhaustion. Many of these victims would pass out or vomit due to over-exhaustion.

He would punish those who failed to meet his extreme standards with violence. Devaney encouraged and sometimes orchestrated fights between detainees, setting older boys against younger ones. This promoted a culture of violence within the institution.

What Abuse Did Patrick Devaney Carry out?

Devaney conducted inspections of the boys' fingernails and hands. If he found any that were dirty or bitten, he would strike their hands as punishment. This added a layer of public humiliation to his abusive practices.

In addition to physical abuse, Devaney used racist language towards some detainees, further demeaning and dehumanising them.

The psychological impact of Devaney's actions was profound, leaving many victims with lasting trauma that they have carried for decades. His behavior was described as sadistic, with victims reporting that he seemed to enjoy inflicting pain. According to this BBC article, the boys were often struck around the face and ears and forced to exercise to the point of collapsing or vomiting.

One victim described Devaney as "an absolute monster, a psychopath, a thug who assaulted people daily, numerous times a day."

Another stated that Eastwood Park was "a place where people were not treated like human beings," emphasising that Devaney was "the worst of the worst."

Seventeen impact statements were read in court—three by the victims and the rest by the prosecuting barrister—detailing the enduring trauma from Devaney's violence and brutality.

Sentencing of Patrick Devaney

Patrick Devaney faced charges of misconduct in a public office for his actions at Eastwood Park Young Offenders' Institution. During a four-week trial at Bristol Crown Court, 22 former detainees testified against him, recounting their experiences of physical and emotional abuse. Devaney was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. The sentencing aimed to provide some measure of justice and closure for the victims, acknowledging the severe breach of trust and duty of care by Devaney.

The jury was convinced by the compelling testimonies of the victims, which described severe and sadistic treatment. Devaney admitted to some minor disciplinary actions but denied the full extent of the abuse.

The jury were told Devaney's offences went far beyond what was "appropriate or acceptable”.

Seventeen victim impact statements were presented during the trial, highlighting the long-lasting trauma caused by Devaney’s actions. These statements underscored the profound and enduring effects of his abuse on the victims' lives.

What is the Eastwood Park compensation scheme?

There are ongoing discussions between the Government Legal Department and solicitors with the aim of introducing a compensation scheme to compensate those affected by the abuse they experienced at the hands of Devaney and other prison officers, at Eastwood Park.

If you were subject to abuse at Eastwood Park, we would urge you to contact Avon and Somerset Police by calling 101 to report the abuse.

How We Can Help Eastwood Park Detention Centre Abuse Claims

How We Can Help Eastwood Park Detention Centre Abuse Claims

Tilly Bailey & Irvine have secured compensation for a number of former inmates that were sexually, physically, and mentally abused whilst detained in Detention Centres.

If you have been affected by the abuse at Eastwood Detention Centre, and wish to speak to a solicitor, please contact Nathalie Clayton. She already represents a large number of former inmates subject to historic abuse at other Detention Centres.

Nathalie can be contacted on 0333 258 2563 or by filling in an online enquiry form.