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HMYOI Cookham Wood Urgent Notification

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Urgent Notification letter, issued on 26 April 2023

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Charlie Taylor said: “I have… issued an Urgent Notification for the following reasons: There was a complete breakdown of behaviour management, this had led to the escalation of poor behaviour to the point where there was widespread weapon making and nearly a quarter of children reported feeling unsafe… In the complete absence of other measures, the prison relied on keeping boys apart or completely segregating them to maintain safety. At the time of our inspection 90% of children were subjected to ‘keep aparts’ and staff were managing 583 individual conflicts in a population of 77. Solitary confinement of children had become normalised at the establishment. Over a quarter of the population was completely segregated from the main population. Most were locked in their cells for 23.5 hours a day with no meaningful human interaction. Records showed that it was not unusual for this group of children to not come out of their cells for days on end. Education and other interventions were almost never delivered. Two boys who needed protecting from their peers had been subjected to these conditions for more than 100 days.” For the full list of reasons this urgent notification was invoked, see the letter attached above.

Inspection debriefing paper

Action plan

The Secretary of State’s response and action plan (26 May 2023).

Inspection report

Report on the unannounced inspection of HMYOI Cookham Wood by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (4–20 April 2023).