Prison is no place for children

Today’s Guardian newspaper features two letters condemning the abuse of children in prison: a joint letter from Carolyne Willow, Article 39’s director, and Deb Coles, co-director of INQUEST; and a letter from the mother of Joseph Scholes. Sixteen year-old Joseph died in scandalous conditions in Stoke Heath young offender institution in 2002. The coroner who investigated Joseph’s death wrote to the then home secretary, David Blunkett, urging a public inquiry. This was refused.

There has never been a public inquiry into any child death in custody. Since 1990, the year the UK signed up to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 33 children have died in penal custody.