Scholes’ report whitewash claim

The mother of a boy who died in custody has described a government report into his case as a “whitewash”.

Yvonne Scholes, whose 16-yearold son Joseph committed suicide at Stoke Heath Young Offender Institution in 2002, said the report, published this week, was a “waste of money” because it did not address why Joseph died.

The report by David Lambert, a former assistant chief inspector of social services, raised concerns there would not be enough places outside custody for vulnerable young offenders “for the foreseeable future”.

It said the lack of suitable secure in-patient psychiatric beds was a major problem, and highlighted that a quarter of children coming into custody did not have papers to identify them as being at risk.

Joseph, who had a history of selfharm, was placed in Stoke Heath YOI despite the concerns of the judge at his sentencing about his ability to cope in custody.

The government accepted all of the report’s 55 recommendations bar one that called for the monitoring of young offenders’ phone calls to identify those at risk.

But Yvonne Scholes said the report had “no teeth” because none of its recommendations were mandatory. She was also angry that
she had only received a copy of the report by e-mail hours before its publication on Monday.

A decision is expected imminently on her court appeal against the government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry into Joseph’s death.

The report came after Youth Justice Board chair Rod Morgan lamented the lack of money to prevent young people entering custody.

Lambert report

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