19 June 2020
Commenting on the report, Rod Clark, Chief Executive of Prisoners’ Education Trust, said:
“It seems ironic that the review of separation practice for children in prison should be published when hundreds of imprisoned children are currently experiencing separation conditions due to the Covid-19 crisis. These children have already lost three months of taught education and have no access to online alternatives.
“Isolating children negatively effects well-being and creates trauma. Removing children from education disrupts progress and attainment and has a significant impact on future life chances. Children need to learn in safe, engaging, pro-social spaces, and to have face-to-face contact with teachers and peers.
“While we are pleased that the review calls for the role of education during separation to be clarified, and recommends that children have access to more activities, the review does not go far enough.
“We are disappointed that it did not fundamentally question the practice of solitary confinement for children. In his recent report, the Chief Inspector of Prisons called for a complete system overhaul and found that prison managers had failed to prevent children from being subject to harmful regimes for extended periods of time.
“In the short term, we call on the Youth Custody Service to facilitate out-of-cell education for children swiftly and safely. It has been possible to facilitate this in one YOI and therefore it is possible in others.
“Longer term, we ask the Youth Custody Service to end the current practice of solitary confinement for children, with its damaging consequences for education and wellbeing.”
Notes to editors:
© Prisoners' Education Trust 2020