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Prisons & child prisoners

British government ministers and a hungry media jeopardised the reform and resettlement of a child who had murdered.

Court delays are causing irreparable damage to children alleging serious sexual abuse.

A justice minister making savage cuts lined his pockets from Parliamentary expenses.

This is Care and Justice in England and Wales, part of the Shine A Light project, led by award-winning reporter Clare Sambrook.


Children in trouble: punishment or welfare?

BBC Panorama exposed abuse at Medway Secure Training Centre — and a government policy that has gone off the rails.

Black deaths: still fighting for justice in the UK

Ken Fero's award-winning films about black deaths at the hands of the police in Britain record the continuing struggle to get justice. They have never been broadcast in the UK. Part of our partnership with the Unorthodocs programme of screenings and events.

Bullying kids: G4S abuse of child prisoners exposed

For years the Howard League and others have warned of abuse of child inmates in secure training centres. Now the BBC’s Panorama programme has caught it on camera.

Rich migrant, poor migrant

The UK government’s welcome depends on the size of your wallet.

Solitary confinement and avoidable harm

Enforced isolation makes people ill and increases the risk of self harm. For one former governor a new report from the Prison Reform Trust is uncomfortable reading.

Hundreds of children are disappearing from local authority care

Already vulnerable children are going missing at an alarming rate. What is being done to protect them? 

New prisons, old politics?

Without more radical reform, new for old prisons will repeat the mistakes of the past.

Empowerment through education for Travellers in prison

Gypsy and Irish Traveller prisoners represent 5% of the entire prison population of England and Wales. Let’s get their education right.

Disaster capitalism, and the outsourcing of violence in the UK

Corporations bleed what profits they can from disaster. Democracy is replaced by a business plan. An excerpt from Antony Loewenstein’s Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe.

Shine A Light writer Jenny McCall wins Anti-Slavery Day media award

Story exposing UK government’s failures to protect victims of trafficking judged “best news piece” on modern slavery.

How mental health services fail young people and what can be done about it

Slashed budgets, stressed workers and young people in desperate need across England and Wales. Something’s got to give.

Squandered lives: Why is it so hard for young people to find decent mental health care?

Vulnerable young people suffering from mental illness are not getting the help that they need. Kesia’s story.

A safe place for children? G4S pays for “independent” report on Rainsbrook prison

  • The world's largest security company shows how to undermine a rigorous and shocking account of racism and degrading treatment at a child prison. 

Transforming the lives of women in trouble

Jobs, safe housing, childcare support. That’s what women need. Not prison.

Human rights, why should I care? Thalidomide and other stories

Three real life cases from RightsInfo illuminate why human rights matter.

The sex abusers guarding Britain’s most vulnerable children

“They look at you like you’re a dog, making you strip is bang out of order.” The final shocking extract from Children Behind Bars.

Mothers and sons. On children who have died in UK prisons

Joseph Scholes and Adam Rickwood died within weeks of being placed in penal institutions. Carolyne Willow met the boys’ mothers, and tells their stories in her shocking book, Children Behind Bars.

Stop and search: young Londoners hold police to account

Nobody likes to be stopped, harassed and humiliated by the police. Young people are devising strategies to protect themselves.

Prison, a treacherous place for a child

Thirty-three children have died in English child prisons since 1990. A powerful new book exposes how Britain’s most vulnerable children are routinely damaged by the state. 

Exploding the myth of ‘payment by results’

National Audit Office issues damning report on outsourcing model that claims to guarantee value for money.

Human rights, why should I care? More real life stories

The state took three lives. A hospital discharged a suicidal young woman. The police unlawfully tapped a man’s phone. Three stories from RightsInfo:

Want to improve our prisons, Mr Gove? Stop. Look. Listen.

Former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Lord Ramsbotham, offers advice to ministers.

Human rights, why should I care? Real life stories

Victims of the black cab rapist were not believed. A man who suffered a miscarriage of justice could not speak to journalists. Four children suffered abuse and neglect. Three stories from RightsInfo:

Children suffer racist abuse and ‘degrading treatment’ by guards high on drugs at G4S Rainsbrook prison

G4S appoints “new leadership” at Rainsbrook: the man in charge when Gareth Myatt, 15, was restrained to death, the man who told an inquest he hadn’t read the restraint manual.

The case for independent investigation of deaths in mental health institutions

When someone dies in a mental health unit in England or Wales, there is currently no obligation to carry out an independent inquiry.

Why are so many people being evicted in Coalition Britain?

Caught in a collision of unemployment, precarious jobs and reduced public services. Part three of our series on the housing crisis: Losing your home.

Losing your home: Simon’s story

After caring for his elderly mother a 50-year-old builder faces eviction from a council flat. Part two of our three part series on Coalition Britainhousing crisis.

Losing your home: one day at Coventry County Court

Growing numbers of working class people face the nightmare of eviction. Part one of a three part series on housing in Coalition Britain. 

UK Election: Crime & Justice, what do the parties offer?

A leading advocate for penal reform assesses the parties’ manifestos.

Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi, openDemocracy writer, shortlisted for Orwell Prize

Reporter who takes time to listen acutely to people at the sharp end of government policy is one of six shortlisted for political journalism prize.

Why access to Justice is not yet an election issue and must be debated

The evidence suggests that people care about access to justice. Politicians should listen to the people.

Danger, overcrowding, no time to talk: a UK prison officer speaks out

Government reforms put prisoners and staff at risk. A frontline officer talks to Prison UKs Alex Cavendish. (See also How to survive in prison, by a former inmate).

How to survive in prison

Amid a crisis of suicides and assaults across prisons in England and Wales, one former inmate offers advice on staying safe. (See also: Danger, overcrowding, no time to talk: a UK prison officer speaks out).

An open letter to Theresa May: Please end the Home Office’s aid for executions

The British Government is opposed to the death penalty “in all circumstances” . . . Except when it’s not.

Dying for Justice: black and minority ethnic deaths in custody

509 suspicious deaths of people from BME, migrant and asylum seeker communities in state custody over 23 years. Five prosecutions. Not one single conviction. A chilling report from the Institute of Race Relations.

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