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  • Sara Chitseko

Deterioration of safety at Feltham Young Offenders Institution


A shocking report has highlighted serious concerns over poor practice at Feltham YOI. The watchdog stated, "more than one in four (26 per cent) children were locked in their cells during the working day, while only around a third could shower every day" (Bulman, 2019). The report continued, “oversight and scrutiny were lacking and we found evidence of poor practice, including the use of pain-inducing techniques, that had not been accounted for” (ibid). Furthermore, a survey found "13 percent of children said they felt unsafe, while nearly two-thirds said they had been physically restrained and many suggested they felt victimised by staff" (ibid).


This clearly indicates that current approaches to justice are causing serious harm and that criminal justice institutions that are supposed to protect and support young people are failing. In order to adequately help young people to live lives free from violence, we must shift our reliance on punishment, to healing. Young people need supportive environments to improve their mental health and wellbeing and anybody working with a duty of care to young people, must be equipped and trained to respond to violence with compassion, not aggression. Only then will we begin to see young people grow, develop and thrive.


REFERENCES

Bulman, M. (2019). Self-harm among children doubles at troubled Feltham youth jail. [online] The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/self-harm-youth-prison-jail-feltham-yoi-inspection-report-a8943186.html [Accessed 7 Jun. 2019].