In 2004 Adam Rickwood became the youngest person to die in custody in modern times when he was found hanging in his cell at the Hassockfield Secure Training Centre at Consett, County Durham. He was 14.
Adam’s mother Carol Pounder fought for justice for seven years to discover the circumstances surrounding her son’s death and last year a second inquest concluded the teenager had been unlawfully killed following a serious system failure at the centre.
His ordeal is covered in the report Fatally Flawed, in which former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham said that the lack of action to reduce young deaths in prisons over the past decade is a “devastating indictment of bad practice”.
Nine children and more than 190 other young people aged 24 and under have died in prisons or secure training centres since calls for a review went 10 years ago, campaigners said.
The report says: “Too often ’tough’ talk about crime and punishment does not result in the authoritative action needed to rectify the flaws in our criminal justice system.