In response to the news that the Government has agreed that treatment of 15-year-old boy in solitary confinement breached Article 3 of European Convention on Human Rights, the Children’s Commissioner has said:
“As Children’s Commissioner, I am deeply shocked by the details of this case, and welcome the resolution of a difficult seven year battle in this young person’s life for the treatment he received to be recognised for what it was.
“This judgement reiterates a principle that I consider very important, that the children in custody are still children. Children in custody still retain the fundamental legal protections that our society considers vital for children to have.
“Many of these children have experienced huge adversity and trauma, and have additional vulnerabilities such as this young person. It is not acceptable for children to be locked away with no reprieve or to receive no education, in contravention of their basic rights under the UNCRC and OPCAT.
“I visited Feltham recently and talked to the children there. I have talked to children across the secure estate and they have related to me that they still have concerns about some of the same issues raised by this case.
“I have not heard anything as bad as what this young man has experienced, but I am still shocked at the number of children who report feeling deeply unsafe, receiving poor education, and very limited time out of cell in the large and inadequate Young Offender Institutions.
“In my Family Review last year, I pointed out many of these concerning issues in the youth secure estate and recommended a new vision for secure care. It’s time for change and reform now so that these children can grow up to be happy and successful adults, who can contribute to society.”