36 organisations and campaigners, including the children's charity Just for Kids Law, have written to the government urging the closure of Medway secure training centre and secure school in light of revelations of continued violence against children in the institution over 18 months after a BBC Panorama investigation revealed widespread unlawful restraint. The move comes after the publication of a serious case review into the centre, and last week’s Ofsted inspection report which revealed children are still being unlawfully restrained there.
Carolyne Willow, Director of Article 39, said:
“Whenever there is institutional failure stretching back many years, there comes a point when someone in charge has to take decisive action and say ‘enough is enough’. The serious case review and the latest inspection report show deep fault lines in protecting children.
“If this child prison was a children’s home or a school, its gates would have been closed shortly after the shocking BBC Panorama exposé of physical and emotional abuse three years ago.
“Ministers must stand up to the false optimism that the institution can reform itself, and local and national agencies will properly scrutinise and protect children. The continuing revelations show that this is not possible. A change of name to secure school and a small refurbishment is not going to address the systemic failings. The centre must be closed for good.”
Both Article 39 and Just for Kids Law are part of a coalition of children's rights organisations that have recently launched a campaign calling for the end of child imprisonment in England and Wales.