Prison Reform Trust response to young adults, self-inflicted deaths in NOMS custody

The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) is an independent UK charity working to create a just, humane and
effective prison system. We do this by inquiring into the workings of the system; informing
prisoners, staff and the wider public; and by influencing Parliament, government and officials
towards reform.

The Prison Reform Trust’s main objectives are:

• Reducing unnecessary imprisonment and promoting community solutions to crime
• Improving treatment and conditions for prisoners and their families

PRT welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to this review and have chosen to respond only to those questions on which we have some expertise but also submit our response to the Ministry of Justice consultation Transforming management of young adults of custody as supplementary evidence to the Review team. As a member of the Transition to Adulthood Alliance (T2A) convened by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Prison Reform Trust is pleased to support T2As submission to this Review.

Overarching comments

Whilst PRT appreciate that the remit of this Review has been set externally, PRT wish to
reiterate that the exclusion of children from its parameters presents a missed opportunity,
not least because many of the young people aged 18-24 who have died in prison will spend
time in custody as children. PRT urge the Review team to ensure that the impact of transition
from youth to adult custodial estate is considered as part of it work.

PRT strongly recommend that the ambit of the Review is sufficiently wide to consider the
journey into custody taken by children and young people who have died. A focus on prison
alone will result in only a partial understanding of what happened to them and what needs to
change. As Fatally flawed’s analysis of the deaths of 98 children and young people who died
between 2003 and 2010 showed, they were some of the most disadvantaged in society and
had had significant interaction with public services and community agencies before their entry
to prison.

It is in everyone’s interests to learn the lessons from the deaths of children and young people in prison and prevent such tragedies wherever possible in the future

You can read the full PRT response here