Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Remembering Joseph Scholes

This page was first published on the No More Prison website in April 2004

Inquest Verdict

The jury at Shrewsbury coroner's court today (30th April 2004) returned a verdict of accidental death following the inquest into 16 year old Joseph Scholes death in Stoke Heath Children's Prison, Shropshire. Following the verdict the coroner, John Ellery, said he would be writing to the Home Secretary recommending a Public Inquiry into Joseph's tragic death.

Speaking after the case, Joseph's mother, Yvonne Scholes, said she hoped the government would listen to the coroner's call.
"What I would like to come out of Joseph's death is that all children are removed from the care of the prison service, who time and time again have failed to care for those children, and instead put them into local authority secure units under the care of local authorities."
The Inquest Press Release on today's verdict can be read here

The Facts

On 24 March 2002 Joseph was found hanging from a sheet attached to the bars of his cell window. His death occurred one-month after his sixteenth birthday, just nine days into a two-year sentence for street robbery.

Joseph was an extremely disturbed young boy who had a long history of anxiety and depression, self-harming behaviour and suicide attempts. Despite the serious concerns expressed by all those who had the most knowledge and information about Joseph and his extreme vulnerability, the Youth Justice Board made the decision to place him in prison service accommodation at Stoke Heath Young Offender Institution.

Upon arrival at Stoke Heath Joseph was initially put in strip clothing and placed in a cell with a surveillance camera, reduced ligature points, and high levels of observations. His mother Yvonne telephoned Stoke Heath Young Offenders Institute to ensure that they were aware that Joseph had been a victim of rape and to inform them that he was depressed and unstable with a history of self-harm and suicidal behaviour. Within days of his arrival and without consultation with Yvonne, Joseph was moved to a single cell with no surveillance camera, with ligature points and reduced observations.

Further Information

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