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Last Updated: Monday, 10 November, 2003, 23:50 GMT
Inquiry call over youth's cell death
Prisoner in cell
Twenty-five young inmates have taken their lives since 1990
A reform group is calling for a public inquiry into the death of a 16-year-old boy found hanging in his cell at a Shropshire young offenders' institute.

Joseph Scholes, from Sale in Greater Manchester, who had a history of psychiatric problems and self-harm, died at Stoke Heath Young Offenders' Institution nine days into his sentence for street robbery.

The teenager had been given a two-year detention and training order in March last year for taking part in a series of mobile phone robberies.

Inquest, a group which campaigns for custody reform, said a public inquiry should examine why 25 young teenagers - including Joseph Scholes - have taken their lives in prison since 1990.

Authorities warned

Joseph was sentenced at the height of public concern about street crime and shortly after the courts had been given instructions to send most robbers to jail.

The prison authorities were told the teenager had been abused and had recently tried to kill himself.

But he was put in a cell within days of his arrival at Stoke Heath Young Offenders' Institution.

Joseph was found hanging from a sheet which had been attached to the bars of his cell window.

Campaigners say his case highlights the risks of imprisoning vulnerable and disturbed children.

Sad state of youth prisons
05 Feb 03  |  England

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