The UK’s compliance with key anti-torture treaty

Date: 16th May 2017
Category: UN Convention Against Torture (CAT)

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture has released a report on the UK's compliance with a key anti-torture treaty, claiming that none of the prisons visited by the delegation last year "could be considered safe for prisoners or staff".

One of the sites inspected was the Young Offenders Institution Cookham Wood in Kent, where high levels of violence were found to be primarily managed by locking children up for as long as 23.5 hours per day.

Children in Cookham Wood who were punished by "cellular confinement" were found to be held in "dark, dirty, poorly lit and inadequately ventilated" cells, and the Committee examined data from various youth detention centres, finding periods of segregation lasting more than 80 days. The Committee expressed concern about the placement of children with mental health problems far from home, the lack of privacy in the dispensation of medication to children in their cells and the lack of a dedicated consultation room for children receiving mental health care. The Committee recommended an urgent review of young offender institutions and secure training centres to ensure that such facilities are "truly juvenile-centred and based on the concept of small well-staffed living units".