15th August 2014

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has today published an inspection report on HMYOI Hindley that notes, despite ‘significant improvements’, Hindley was ‘still struggling to keep some of the boys it held safe’.

17 year old Jake Hardy died at HMYOI Hindley in 2012. The inspection was carried out between 3 and 14 March 2014 whilst the inquest into his death was taking place. The inquest jury found that multiple failings by staff contributed to his death. Following the jury’s conclusions, the Coroner published a Prevention of Future Deaths (PFD) report that identified a range of issues of concern and noted that `the placement of vulnerable children and young persons with complex needs in YOIs may result in increased risk of self-harm and suicide, which are often difficult for staff to manage effectively, even with the benefit of the policies and procedures which are in place.’

Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:

“Many of the failings and concerns exposed at the inquest into the death of 17 year old Jake Hardy mirror the findings of this Inspection report.

“Despite improvements, once again, questions have been raised about the ability of the prison service to keep children in its care safe.

“The children and young people incarcerated are some of the most vulnerable with histories of mental ill health, drug and alcohol problems, learning difficulties, abuse, and trauma.

“Can prisons, as currently managed and resourced, ever keep vulnerable children and young people safe and offer any meaningful rehabilitation or therapeutic intervention.

“There has never been an inquiry into how we deal with children in conflict with the law. This group is excluded from the current Harris Review and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission inquiry into deaths in detention.

“As the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons concludes in today’s report, and as INQUEST have been stating since 1990, it is imperative that there be a review and radical rethink of society’s response to these troubled children and young people.”

Jake’s mother, Liz Hardy said:

"Reading this report, it appears that not enough has changed at HMYOI Hindley, two and half years on from my son Jake Hardy dying.

“The recommendations that the inspectorate are making are the same as those that came out of the inquest: in particular in relation to the problem of shout-outs at night, bullying incidents, the need for better internal recording and passing on of information; and the need for improved care of vulnerable young people with learning difficulties.

“It is distressing knowing that another family may have to go through the heartache, and heartbreaking experience that we as a family had to suffer."


Notes to editors:

  1. INQUEST published a report, Fatally Flawed, in 2012 together with the Prison Reform Trust which was the first detailed study of the experiences and treatment of children and young people who have died in prison custody in England and Wales. The report called on the government to establish an independent review of these deaths which was finally set up in February 2014. This excluded children from its remit.
  2. See INQUEST’s press release following the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Jake Hardy here