More official evidence of child prison dangers

The Ministry of Justice has today released its latest statistics on safety in prisons.

In relation to boys and girls (aged 15 to 17), the data shows:

  • There were 393 self-harming incidents in 2015
  • Of the children who self-harmed, 171 were boys and 1 was a girl
  • 712 children were victims of assault in prison in 2015 (the number of assaults children suffered is not published)
  • There were 341 assaults on staff by boy prisoners in 2015.

The information released today also indicates that the child who passed away in Cookham Wood juvenile young offender institution last year died of natural causes.

Article 39’s Director, Carolyne Willow, says:

“Today’s statistics add considerable weight to Charlie Taylor’s findings that prison officers work hard to protect children but do not have the skills, the expertise or the proper environment in which to achieve this. Behind each of these numbers is a distressed and frightened child who we have the power and the knowledge to help. One day we will look back in astonishment that we ever believed prison was a fit place for children.”

On the indication that a child died of natural causes in 2015, she added:

“What kind of society allows a child to die alone in a prison cell in an institution built to punish adults? This may have been comprehensible if it had occurred in 1815, but not 2015.”

Charlie Taylor is undertaking a review of youth justice for the Ministry of Justice. His interim report was published in February 2016.