Government ‘covers up’ prison child abuse

The government has covered up the abuse that goes on behind locked
doors in young offender institutions across England and Wales, said
the mother of a young person who committed suicide in a YOI.

Yvonne Scholes, the mother of Joseph Scholes, who hanged himself in
Stoke Heath YOI, Shropshire in March 2002, heard last week that the
government would not be holding a public inquiry into the death of
her son (news, 30 September, page 6).

Scholes only learned of the decision when a journalist contacted
campaign group Inquest for a comment about the government’s

“I believe this decision is allowing the Home Office to keep hidden
the appalling treatment meted out to children in prison,” Scholes
told the fringe event last week organised by Community Care and The
Children’s Society.

But Scholes said it was vital a public inquiry was held as “child
abuse thrives on secrecy”. She called on the Home Office to
reconsider its decision.

“It has to be open to public scrutiny. Anything less is a shameful
attempt to hide the ongoing abuses and deaths of children at the
hands of the government,” she said.

Home Office minister Paul Goggins insisted there was already a
public inquiry into every death as a result of the police
investigation, serious incident report, part eight review and

But Deborah Coles, co-director of Inquest, said this was not enough
and that a public inquiry was needed where the deaths and wider
practice issues could be explored.

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