Call for the closure of all Child Prisons in the United Kingdom following the killing of Gareth Myatt sign now

Petition calling for the closure of all Child Prisons following the killing of Gareth Myatt

We the undersigned are appalled at the tragic death of Gareth Myatt in Rainsbrook Child Prison on the 19th April 2004.

Gareth Myatt, aged 15, had been imprisoned earlier this month by North Staffordshire magistrates. Gareth who was 5 foot tall and weighed 8 stone collapsed and died whilst being restrained by three prison guards employed by Group 4 who run the Prison. Gareth was 3 days into a 12 month sentence.

A Principled Opposition

Our opposition to the use of Prisons for children is based on three main principals:

An ethical disagreement with the state punishing children. The deliberate infliction of pain to children is child abuse. A belief that children have human rights and that it is the duty of the state to respect and defend those rights at all times for all children.That children who are in trouble with the law often have a range of needs that we as a Society have failed to meet. Our prime concern must be to meet these needs for love, guidance, education, health care and respect.The use of prisons to deal with children who are offending, is to focus on punishing and inflicting pain on some of the weakest and most deprived members of our society. It is morally wrong.

Child Prisons cause Crime

one (girl prisoner) adding that if the state had actually intended to give them a criminal education, it could not have tried harder'
(Inspector of Prisons report into Children held in Holloway Adult Prison 2000)

It is hardly surprised that children excluded from school, children who have suffered abuse, children with serious mental health problems, children with drug and alcohol addictions, children who have been the victims of racism and children who are bullied behave anti socially and commit crime.

By sending them to prison we exclude them from education, subject them to abuse, further damage their mental health, introduce them to new drugs, treat them in a racists manner and subject them to bulling. We humiliate, deskill, and further damage an already damaged child. Around 90\% of children released from Child Prisons are before the courts again within 2 years. All will live with the damage we as a society have inflicted on them for the rest of their lives.

In memory of Gareth.

The death of Gareth is a tragic waste of a childs life. But he is not the first to die in Britains Child Prisons. On average 3 children commit suicide each year in prison, many more attempt to end their own lives, there are over 300 reported cases of self harm every year.

Lets make Gareth Myatt the last Child to be killed by Britains Child Jails.

We therefore call for

A Full Public Enquiry Into Gareth Myatts Death looking into both the circumstances that led to him being in a Child Prison and the circumstances surrounding his death.The immediate closure of all of Britains Child Prisons The adoption of a Youth Justice system that rejects the principal of punishing and hurting children and is instead based on respecting childrens human rights and seeks resolutions that focuses on the childs needs.

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Gail MelendezBy:
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Government of the United Kingdom

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