Suicide at Feltham sparks concerns

Serious concerns over conditions in young offenders institutions
were raised last week after an inquest into the death of a
16-year-old boy who committed suicide in his cell.

Kevin Jacobs, who was serving a six-month detention training order,
was found hanging from the bars in his single cell at Feltham YOI
last September.

The jury returned a verdict of “suicide to which neglect

They cited several “gross deficiencies” within the system,
including a lack of co-ordination of documents, failure to provide
consistent and safe accommodation in prison and a lack of
inter-service co-ordination after Jacobs’ planned release.

The inquest was told how Jacobs had suffered a history of
institutional neglect. He was the subject of a care order and the
responsibility of Lambeth social services when he was arrested,
charged and remanded to Feltham last July.

Despite evidence about his history of self-harm, Jacobs was kept at
Feltham instead of being removed to local authority secure
accommodation or a hospital.

Social workers, prison staff and doctors described him as “at risk”
and vulnerable. During his three months at Feltham he had been a
victim of bullying and self-harm and two weeks before his death he
managed to hang himself until he was unconscious.

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