Call to extend law to young prisoners

The Howard League for Penal Reform has lodged
a claim for a judicial review in the high court calling for the
Children Act 1989 to apply to children at risk of significant harm
wherever they may be. The claim came after the league accused the
Home Office of failing to apply the protections of the act to
children in prison.

Research by the Howard League
shows that children in custody are not being protected from
bullying, assault and self-harm.

16-year-olds have committed suicide in prison since January 2000,
and there were 554 recorded incidents of self-harm by young people
in prisons between April 2000 and November 2001.

Frances Crook, director of the
Howard League, said: “Children should be protected and afforded the
same rights wherever they live. Children behind bars are highly
vulnerable because they cannot run away from fear or unhappiness
and have no choice in whom to turn to for help.

law, which took away their freedom, should also protect them when
they are in need.”


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