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29 Jan 2019

Howard League responds to report on the perceptions of children in custody

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ annual report on the perceptions of children in custody, published today (Tuesday 29 January).

Almost 700 children responded to the watchdog’s survey. Two in five children in prisons and one in three in secure training centres reported having felt unsafe at some time.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Once again, the inspectorate has rightly raised concerns about the safety of children in custody – but let us take a step back for a moment. It is shocking that the issue of safety is even a matter for discussion.

“We ought to be discussing how children are flourishing, how they are being cared for and supported to ensure that they go on to lead healthy and positive lives. What does it say about the prisons and secure training centres that they are not keeping children safe?

“This report tells us about the state of custody, but it also tells us something about practice in the youth courts. For the first time, more than half of boys in prison identify as being from a black or minority ethnic background. Sixteen months after the Lammy Review was published, it is disturbing that disproportionality is growing.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
  1. The annual report analysing perceptions of children in custody is available on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website.


Rob Preece
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