Changing Prisons, Saving Lives: Report of the Independent Review into Self-inflicted Deaths in Custody of 18-24 year olds

Published: Jul 2015

Lord Toby Harris and the Harris Review panel

Our conclusions and recommendations have not been reached lightly. They are all derived from the evidence we have received and reviewed: Chapter 1 of this report describes how comprehensive this has been. Submissions were received from 54 organisations and individuals. We consulted senior experts and professionals and conducted 26 hearings and a number of meetings and seminars. We visited prisons and Young Offender Institutions. We spoke to the families of the young adults and children who died. We took a number of opportunities to speak to young adults who had themselves previously been in custody, or who were still in custody during the course of the Review. We conducted a survey of young adults in a number of institutions and, in addition, received 50 audio submissions from prisoners following the interview with Lord Harris and subsequent broadcasts on National Prison Radio.

The Review concluded that all young adults in custody are vulnerable. Moreover, the separation of young people from their families and support networks is likely to lead to loneliness and to exacerbate vulnerabilities. This has wide implications for the way in which prisons and YOIs should operate.