Prisons are failing to protect vulnerable children


Blakehurst Prison source: The Independent 
published: April 2014

Who protected Jake Hardy, a highly vulnerable 17 year-old suffering from ADHD and dyslexia and needing mental health support? Certainly not those prison officers at Hindley Young Offenders Institution who failed to listen to his anguished pleas for help from constant bullying.

Certainly not the prison that an inquest jury last week found responsible for 12 critical failures that contributed to Jake hanging himself with a bedsheet.  And certainly not a youth justice system that imprisons children in institutions in which bullying, serious self-harm and suicide are worryingly prevalent.

There are two ways to view what happened to Jake Hardy. First, that it was an aberration. However, the sheer extent of the safeguarding failures that emerged during the six-week inquest dispels the complacent notion that Jake’s treatment was unique.

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