In response to the British Medical Association, Royal College of Psychiatrists and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health statement on solitary confinement, Nacro Chief Executive, Jacob Tas, said:
“We welcome the statement from leading health organisations calling for the use of solitary confinement of children and young people within the secure estate to be stopped immediately. Children and young people being isolated for 22 hours or more without any human contact has a devastating impact on them, increasing the risk of suicide, self-harm, and long-term psychiatric and developmental harm.
“At Nacro, we work across the country with people in contact with the justice system, who often have complex needs, supporting them to build positive and independent futures. A report from the Nacro-led Beyond Youth Custody partnership found overwhelming evidence which showed that the majority of children and young people in custody come from disadvantaged families and communities, with experiences of childhood trauma such as neglect and abuse. Existing evidence revealed that 91% of violent young offenders have experienced abuse or loss, 40% of female and 25% of male young people in custody have suffered violence at home, and 33% of female offenders have suffered sexual abuse. Being in custody itself, as well as the experience of being held in solitary confinement, can be a re-traumatising experience for young people, exacerbating existing problems and reinforcing a negative view of themselves.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that our children and young people in custody are safe. Feeling safe is the basic foundation for all other work with young people to help them turn their lives around and move away from crime. It is crucial for young people to engage with staff, build positive and trusting relationships, and begin to build a more positive narrative for themselves. Ultimately this reduces reoffending, builds safer communities and prevents further victims of crime.”