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We’ve signed a letter with 9 others calling for an independent inquiry into child prisons

14 January 2016

An independent inquiry into child prisons is needed so that we can understand the scale of abuse, campaigners say

Today, 14 January 2016, the following letter has been published in the Times.

Sir, Serious questions may have to be asked about G4S Children’s Services and other agencies working in Medway Secure Training Centre after allegations of abuse and mistreatment of children there (report, Jan 8). If the alleged ill-treatment occurred, why did it take undercover filming to expose it and why was it not found earlier by G4S managers, the Youth Justice Board and others, including the NHS and the charity Barnardo’s?

Investigations are under way by Kent Police and children’s services, and remedial action is taking place — but this does not address the longstanding risks to children’s safety and wellbeing. Arrangements must now be made for the planned transfer of children from G4S Medway, and other institutions like it, to settings where we can be sure they will be safe, respected and properly cared for. Then we need an independent inquiry into child prisons so that we can understand the scale of any abuse and learn how to look after children well.

Carolyne Willow, Director, Article 39

Deborah Coles, Co-Director, INQUEST

Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive, YoungMinds

Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England

Natasha Finlayson, Chief Executive, The Who Cares? Trust

Pam Hibbert OBE, Independent Youth Justice Specialist

Louise King & Carla Garnelas, Co-Directors, Children’s Rights Alliance for England

Shauneen Lambe, Executive Director, Just for Kids Law

Bridget Robb, Chief Executive, The British Association of Social Workers

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