Action for Race Equality today joined 30 organisations in writing to the youth justice Minister about declining conditions in the children’s secure estate.
Alongside other Alliance for Youth Justice (AYJ) members, we expressed concern for the increasing use of force against children in custody. In the adult estate, racially disproportionate use of force in prisons is a persistent and unexplained problem. In particular, PAVA is more likely to be used against you if you are Black, Muslim, young or have a learning disability.
Over half of the young people in Youth Offending Institutions are from Black, Asian, or mixed heritage backgrounds. That is why we are particularly concerned by the proposed rollout of PAVA spray in the youth estate, as it is highly likely to be disproportionately used on Black, Asian, and mixed heritage children.
Concerns over poor treatment of children and young people in a number of Young Offender Institutions (YOIs), as well as the increase in the number of young people aged 18 or over being held in the children’s secure estate were also outlined in the letter to Damian Hinds, Minister of State for Prisons, Parole and Probation.
We would welcome an urgent response from the Minister to ensure that if the children’s secure estate population continues to grow, the care of children and young people will not deteriorate any further.
You can read the letter, which was co-ordinated by the AYJ, and view the full list of signatories here.