Government announces review of self-inflicted deaths of 18-24 year olds in custody

The Government has announced today that it is setting up an independent review to investigate self-inflicted deaths in custody of young people aged 18-24.  The announcement means that the proposal to scrap YOIs (see T2A’s December 2013 response to MoJ consultation) has been suspended pending the outcome of the review.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the Government was committed to the safety of offenders and to reducing the number of people dying in custody and that lessons learned from the review would benefit all age groups.  In the past 10 years, 163 children and young people under the age of 24 have died in prison.

The review will be led by the Labour peer Lord Harris of Haringey, who is chairman of the Independent Advisory Council on Deaths in Custody.

Leading charities and NGOs, including Barrow Cadbury Trust, had joined the call for an independent review in a letter published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper yesterday. The Government had been considering whether to hold an independent review since Inquest and the Prison Reform Trust published Fatally Flawed: has the state learned lessons from the deaths of children and young people in prison, which examined the experiences of children and young people who died in prison between 2003 and 2010.