Howard League sounds alarm over suicide risk

Special arrangements should be made to transport young people
between prisons and courts to avoid the risk of self-harm and
suicide, according to a report by prison campaigners.

The Howard League for Penal Reform has said that young people
and women are disproportionately vulnerable to self-harm during the
prison transport process.

One in four recorded incidences of self-harm in court cells or
escort vehicles in the London area last year were by young people.
In the 12 months to April this year, 30 incidents of young people
self-harming were recorded, out of a total of 113.

The Howard League is recommending that separate escorting
arrangements be made for transporting juveniles and women. It is
also calling for the Prison Service to carry out routine
inspections of conditions. Court escort services have been provided
by private companies since 1993.

Meanwhile, juvenile offenders will no longer be detained at
Portland Young Offenders Institution, the Youth Justice Board has

The decision not to use the Dorset institution follows the
publication this week of a report by chief inspector of prisons Sir
David Ramsbottom highlighting racism and bullying at the

Fran Russell, assistant director of the Howard League for Penal
Reform, said: “Portland has a very long history of poor
performance. Youngsters there are treated as if they are

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