‘Major missed opportunity will mean that many lives continue to be wasted’

Borstal young offender cellsource: Toby Harris – TheJusticeGap
published: 20 December 2015

You wait nearly nine months for the Government response to your review – then they issue 36 reports on the same day. The independent review I led into self-inflicted deaths of young people in prison was submitted to the Ministry of Justice on 2 April 2015 and published as The Harris Review: Changing Prisons, Saving Lives on 1 July 2015. The Government’s response was finally issued on 17 December 2015.

So was the wait worth it?

The review itself was the most comprehensive independent examination of penal policy for a generation rooted in an enormous volume of evidence and research and underpinned by a detailed analysis of the tragic cases of 87 young people who died in prison between April 2007 and the end of 2013. Since when, there have been a further 29 self-inflicted deaths of young people in NOMS custody.

The response has already been described as ‘complacent’ by Inquest, the national charity that provides advice and support to the bereaved families of those who die in the custody of the State.

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