As the government prepares its plans for secure schools, it must surely be considering the tremendous harm caused to children by imprisonment across the decades.
One such indicator is the number of children who have died in prisons. Data recently released by the Ministry of Justice shows 52 children died in young offender institutions (and their previous incarnations) between 1978 and 2015.
In addition, two children died in 2004 in the newest type of child prison, the secure training centre. The first secure training centre was Medway, in Kent, which opened in April 1998 and is run by G4S. Five weeks ago, a BBC Panorama programme showed serious mental and physical abuse of children there, captured by undercover recording.
So that’s 54 children who have lost their lives in British prisons in the past 40 years. The Youth Justice Board’s analysis of 16 of these deaths, occurring between 2000 and 2012, found at least 69% of the children had been subject to Care Orders. This is the highest form of protection the state offers to children.
Furthermore, an analysis of the 38 deaths of young adults (aged 18-21) in custody between 2008 and 2012 found 37% had previously been incarcerated as children.