More than 18,000 assaults took place in young offender institutions over the past three years, figures published by the Howard League for Penal Reform show today.
The majority were prisoner-on-prisoner assaults in the 18 YOIs, with Feltham and Ashfield YOIs recording the highest levels.
There were 2,542 assaults by prisoners against officers and 15,565 assaults by prisoners against each other between 2003 and 2006.
Frances Crook, director of the Howard League, said that children were coming out of custody “hardened and brutalised” by violence, leading to more than three-quarters being reconvicted within a year.
“While not all the assaults recorded directly involve children held in prison, those children are at the very least witness to what goes on in these hotbeds of violence,” she added.
There are currently just over 3,000 children in custody in England and Wales, with 2,512 of these in YOIs.