Too many children in jail, says charity

The government is breaching children’s human rights,
according to a report submitted by the Howard League for Penal
Reform this week to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of
the Child.

The charity says the government breaches the UN Convention on
the Rights of the Child through the high numbers of children held
in prison in the UK and the failure to protect these children from

The report points to the high rates of assaults in juvenile
prison units and the high levels of self-harm and suicide in
prisons. Since 1990, 22 children aged between the ages of 15 and 17
have killed themselves in prison.

The report says solitary confinement is regularly used for
children in prison and that children are restrained by the same
methods used for adult prisoners, which resulted in 296 recorded
injuries to young people between April 2000 and January this

The Howard League is also challenging the government, in a
judicial review, over its exclusion of children in prison from the
remit of the Children Act 1989.

Director of the Howard League Frances Crook said: “Children in
prison may have committed crimes but they are still children. They
should be entitled to the same level of care and protection
afforded to children in every other setting.”

– Children in Prison, Barred Rights from 020 7249

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