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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 17:18 GMT
Inquiry call after son's hanging
Joseph campaign poster
Joseph died just nine days after being sent to the institution
The mother of a teenager who hanged himself in a young offenders' institution has demanded a public inquiry into his death.

Yvonne Scholes, from Prestatyn, north Wales, believes her son Joseph should not have been held by the prison service.

Joseph was 16 when he was sentenced to two years in a young offenders institution for robbery.

Nine days later he was dead. He had hanged himself from the bars on his cell window at Stoke Heath young offenders institution in Shropshire.

"He had told everybody concerned that he would kill himself if he received a custodial sentence," Mrs Scholes said.

"The judge knew that. He commented on it at the trial, yet he still sent him to an unsafe environment - to a certain death.

"It was nothing less than a death sentence to Joseph."

Campaigners have said he should never have been sent there, but there was no local authority secure unit available.

Yvonne Scholes
Yvonne Scholes is determined to bring about change
Mrs Scholes's MP, Chris Ruane, hopes a public inquiry will provide answers to questions about what happened to her son.

Both he and Mrs Scholes hope growing pressure for a public inquiry will force the UK Government to act to prevent further incidents.

They took their concerns to Westminster on Tuesday to highlight what they see as the need to reform the current system.

Deborah Coles, from the campaign group Inquest, said action had to be taken in the light of Joseph's death.

"It's a truly horrendous case - the most vulnerable and disturbed young boy being put into a prison and taking his own life there," she said.

"We feel that if the prison service can't protect somebody like Joseph, then there are real questions about how they can protect any child in a prison environment."

Youth jails 'in crisis'
03 Oct 01  |  UK News


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