Teenage prisoners in young offenders’ institutions are often kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, watchdog warns

  • Chief prison inspector says some offenders are let out of for 15 minutes a day
  • One child was left to lie on a mattress on the floor of a cell for more than 22 hours
  • Justice minister Wendy Morton said there was ‘no excuse’ for some practices

Child prisoners are being kept in solitary confinement amid ‘multiple and widespread’ failings in the jail system, a watchdog warns today.

The chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, says some young offenders are only let out of their cells for 15 minutes a day.

One child was left to lie on a mattress on the floor of a filthy cell for more than 22 hours.

Mr Clarke called for an overhaul in young offenders’ institutions (YOIs) which can put children ‘in separation’ if it is in their own interests or they have been disruptive.

Child prisoners are being kept in solitary confinement amid ‘multiple and widespread’ failings in the jail system, a watchdog warns today (stock image)

Confining someone for more than 22 hours a day ‘without meaningful human contact’ amounts to solitary confinement, according to the UN.

About one in ten of the 600 children in YOIs are separated at any one time. The report found one child was separated for 89 days. Another was there for 23 days during which he had outdoor exercise on six days and had just 70 minutes’ education.

Frances Crook, of the Howard League for Penal Reform, called conditions ‘shameful’. Justice minister Wendy Morton said there was ‘no excuse’ for some of the practices highlighted.

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