Children with mental health problems ‘failed’ by justice system

An independent investigation into the use of restraint on children in secure custody has highlighted how young people with mental health problems may be being failed by the current system.

Rod Morgan, Chairman of the Youth Justice Board, commented that there is a lack of spaces for young offenders who have mental health problems who should be in healthcare rather than custodial care.

The independent review of the custodial system for children suggests that shows how some young people are being restrained unnecessarily and with unreasonable force with as many as one in five restraints resulting in injury to the child.

Carolyne Willow, National Coordinator for the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, said: “We are not talking about children being hurt in the rough and tumble of restraint. Staff have permission to deliberately hurt children.”

Director of the Prison Reform Trust, Juliette Lyon, said: “Although children have behaved badly and some of them committed terrible crimes, although that is a minority, they’re still children.”

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