Welfare safeguards under the Children Act 1989 have been extended
to children in young offenders institutions for the first time
after a historic ruling in the High Court.
The ruling marked a significant victory for the Howard League for
Penal Reform, which had challenged the Home Office’s policy that
the act did not apply to children and young people in YOIs.
The Howard League’s case rested on the harmful effects of
segregation and physical restraint which are practised in young
offenders institutions, contributing to high levels of suicide and
The ruling meant that local authorities should now carry out child
protection investigations, advise prisons, carry out
children-in-need assessments, and meet the needs identified,
according to Fran Russell, head of the charity’s youth justice law