This week, a judicial review will be held at the High Court in London over the government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry into the death of Joseph Scholes.
The coroner at the inquest into Joseph’s death wrote to the secretary of state and urged a public inquiry to take place to examine issues that were beyond the scope of the inquest in a bid to prevent further deaths.
In addition more than 100 MPs, the former chief prisons inspector Sir David Ramsbotham, the children’s commissioner for Wales, penal reform and human rights charities have also called for a public inquiry to take place.
The call has also been backed by Community Care.
The joint committee on human rights recommended a public inquiry take place, but in its response to the committee’s third report on deaths in custody published in March, the government reiterated it would not be holding a public inquiry.
Joseph’s mother Yvonne said: “I hope with all my heart that the court will see sense and identify the urgent need for a public inquiry into my son’s death and indeed the death of all children in penal custody.”
“The fact that there has never been an inquiry disgusts me,” she continued. “If this was a death in social services there would be an outcry, the fact that my son died at the hands of a different state body should pose no difference.”
Joseph took his own life in March 2002 at Stoke Heath Young Offender Institution.
Since 1990, 29 children aged 15 to 17-years-old have died in penal custody.