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#84676 - 10/28/06 11:37 AM RIP Adam Rickwood
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
How tragic, a young boy who was known to self harm was left to hang himself.
He hung himself with the laces from his best trainers which his mom brought to him in confinement.

It beggars belief that someone so young is locked away without full assessment as to his inner problems.

We need a public enquiry now, to save further young people doing what Adam did.

Suffering in silence
Wake up! Listen to their cries!

Real player story trigger warning

The tragic death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood has turned the spotlight on the Youth Justice Board. Alison Benjamin meets its chief executive, Ellie Roy

Wednesday August 18, 2004
The Guardian

It was not an auspicious start. Just six weeks into Ellie Roy's new job as chief executive of the Youth Justice Board (YJB), a 14-year-old boy became the youngest person to commit suicide in a British jail. The death of Adam Rickwood, who was last week found hanging in his cell at Hassockfield secure training centre, Co Durham, has prompted calls from prison reformers for a public inquiry into the youth justice system that Roy now presides over.

In particular, they want the use of secure training centres (STCs) - a new breed of privately-run child prisons, funded by the YJB, where children as young as 12 are locked up - to be investigated. Roy is unconvinced. She says demands for a review must be weighed against the needs of local neighbourhoods where young people can wreak havoc. "It's a real dilemma because we have not found anything to solve the problems faced by these kids from very troubled backgrounds, nor the problems they pose," she says.

"When it gets to the point of locking them up we are either talking about a kid who has committed a very serious offence, or a kid who has persistently offended no matter what you try."

Roy has spoken to Adam's mother and hopes to meet his family next week. "All you can say is what a desperate tragedy it is for them," she says. The board has launched a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Adam's death. There are currently 2,637 people under the age of 18 in secure detention in England and Wales - double the number a decade ago. Since 1998, 15 children have killed themselves in custody.

Perhaps surprisingly, Roy agrees with her detractors who criticise the youth justice system for locking up too many youngsters and point to most other EU countries where fewer children are channelled through the penal system. "I agree with the campaigners who say we lock up too many kids, in the sense that we ought to be doing a lot more at a much earlier stage to make sure we don't end up having to remove kids from their families and communities because of the difficulties they are presenting," she says. "The board's view is that we should do more, and we are keen to do more, to ensure that where possible those kids are supervised in the community."

She stresses the excellent work that multi-agency youth offending teams - whose work is overseen by the YJB - have been doing across England and Wales in the past four years to support and advise young offenders. "We do everything possible to get them into constructive activities and to deal with the problems they are facing in their own lives."

The board's hands are tied when it comes to the courts serving increasing numbers of custodial sentences on children. It does, however, have a choice about which type of detention to send them to: young offenders institutions (YOIs), where the majority are detained; local authority secure units, which have around 260 boys and girls; or the three STCs where 180 are currently locked up.

Some 76% of the YJB's budget is spent purchasing custodial places from the prison service, local authorities and private contractors including Premier Custodial Group, which runs Hassockfield, and Group 4, which operates the two other STCs in Medway, Kent, and Rainsbrook, near Rugby.

Roy, who is married to the head of the prison service, Phil Wheatley, denies any conflict of interest over purchasing decisions and says it is "neither here nor there" whether the private or public sector is running the service. What is critical, she believes, is to ensure the custodial experience is a constructive one. Where a child is particularly vulnerable because of their age or mental health she says the board would try to make sure that they were detained in a local authority unit or a STC.

Local authority secure units, which often have no more than 20 beds, are staffed by people trained in child welfare - including experienced social workers - with a high ratio of staff to young people, allowing for intensive support. In comparison, STCs have up to 72 beds and recruit staff from a variety of backgrounds, who undergo a nine-week training course which Roy says gives them enough skills to recognise mental health issues.

Roy talks at some length about the tremendous problems faced by most children in custody including "great difficulties at school, being excluded from school, being failed by family, mental health issues and substance abuse: many have been in the care system", and she rattles off statistics about their low educational attainment - "more than a quarter have literacy and numeracy levels equivalent to those of an average seven-year-old".

She adds: "It's probably beyond the imagination of the average person in the street to understand just what they've been through and where they've come from."

If there were better mental health teams working with these kids at an early stage, they would probably not end up in the criminal justice system, she accepts. "Mental health needs are a big, big, big issue and one we haven't really got to grips with at all."

Given the kids' high levels of need, you could be mistaken for thinking that the YJB must be purchasing more custodial places from local authorities. But quite the opposite. Between April 2003 and June 2004, there were a fifth fewer children in local authority secure units. The board has contracts with 15 local authorities. It stopped contracting with two local authority-run units last year that have subsequently closed and a further two which are planning to close.

A place at a local authority secure unit does not come cheap: around 150,000 a year, compared to 100,000 at a STC and just 50,000 at a YOI. Does cost determine purchasing decisions? "There is a cost factor," admits Roy. "We can't afford to lock everyone up in a local authority secure unit and there are not enough local authority places. We shouldn't be spending money on intensive things if we can provide a decent regime for less."

No doubt this is one reason why the board is pressing ahead with the opening of the fourth and largest STC - Oakhill, in Milton Keynes - later this month. A fifth is scheduled to open soon in Wales.

As their name suggests, STCs focus on education and training. Roy claims a number of children are making good progress - though no figures are yet available - and she cites positive inspectorate reports to emphasise that they are doing a good job. She is keen to stress, however, that the YJB's primary purpose is to prevent offending. "What we know is that if a child hasn't offended by the age of 14 then they are much less likely to."

The YJB is in discussions with the Department for Education and Skills about how to identify kids and parents who need help at an early stage and providing intensive support for families. It is also in talks with the Home Office about the impact that initiatives from Number 10 - which have widened the pool of young people who could now be drawn into the criminal justice system for staying out late or spraying graffiti - might have on its work.

"We need to be very careful in demonising and criminalising young people," says Roy. "We do that at our peril." She admits she hung around on street corners with her friends when she was growing up in Co Tyrone. "Lots of us did. I wasn't an angel but I didn't get into grievous trouble and I had a mother who would have punished me if I'd done anything anti-social."

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#84678 - 10/29/06 04:58 PM Re: RIP Adam Rickwood
reality2k4 Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
The outrage wont go away, they are holding a rally in London to make everybody see their plight.

You can see the plight of the little guy being bullied and whatever else.
He bottled a man in his twenties, so we can only guess what for.

A young boy with no record of violence should have been screened by psyche docs, and found a place in a care home, not locked up.

The cops were told that he had severe emotional problems, so locking him up must have been the worst nightmare for him.

When are they going to wake up!
He cried for help for so long and nothng was ever done. Sounds like we can all put ourselves in his shoes on that matter.

They need to LISTEN!!!

ste

I am doing my own campaign to the justice system to alert them to just what makes kids do bad things when there is no past violent episodes.

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#84679 - 11/15/06 03:24 PM Re: RIP Adam Rickwood
sis Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 195
Loc: Arizona
Ste, i am very interested in what your campaign is all about. please share the details with me if yu can. you can PM if you want. light and luv Sis


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#84680 - 11/15/06 05:02 PM Re: RIP Adam Rickwood
reality2k4 Offline
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Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Quote:
"It's a real dilemma because we have not found anything to solve the problems faced by these kids from very troubled backgrounds, nor the problems they pose," she says.
You never will if you dont LISTEN!

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#84681 - 11/15/06 08:03 PM Re: RIP Adam Rickwood
Kirk Wayne Offline
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Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 499
Loc: Shrewsbury UK
Is a downright outrage that the UK locks up more kids than all of Europe put together, we put the childeren in jail and let the perps walk the streets unsupervised ...... total, total madness.

Kirk
"Lets grab this bull by the horns and swing it about a bit"


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#84682 - 11/15/06 08:47 PM Re: RIP Adam Rickwood
reality2k4 Offline
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Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Kirk, that is exactly the case, then you get some freakin idiot making crap statements.

Sis, this hit me in the face about this kid, he hit a guy who must have really hurt him of past.
I thought of just how volatile my mind would have been at his age.

Did he need to be securely locked up? NO - he had no history of violence, so why? Lock him up.

If they wont or cant listen to the kids, then we must speak out for them, and turn the whole thing around on locking up terrified little boys.

They call it zero tolerance, I call it abuse,

ste

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Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#84683 - 11/15/06 08:53 PM Re: RIP Adam Rickwood
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
i wanted to post on this but it would be so long . i came out of that system i can give a hundered reasons why the system dont work .

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#84684 - 11/16/06 12:47 AM Re: RIP Adam Rickwood
sis Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 195
Loc: Arizona
Ste
I am wondering how you are going to speak out for these children? i would like to help if i can. My brohter was one of those kids. csa at home and destructive behavior on the streets, not violent against anyone but property. He was taken at i think about 11 or 12 and put into juvenile detention and from there to prison. He was about 28 before he finally got out of the system but they are working on him still. I called his probation officer and told him that he didn't need prison he needed professional help with alcohol and csa issues from his past that he didn't even know he had but i knew and i begged them to help him. They did not give a shit. He is doing better but is still completely screwed up. What happens to a kid of 18 yrs, blonde hair, blue eyes, and not bad looking, csa victim with repressed memory in prison? i am horrified at what that poor boy wwent through. If there is anything i can do to help let me know. light and luv, sis


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#84685 - 11/16/06 02:43 AM Re: RIP Adam Rickwood
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
if you took the kids out of the hard core detention centers that dont belong there you would only need one center and it would be small.i lived in the e h close detention center ,i guess there was about 80 kids in my dorm out of those 80 maybe 5 or 6 deserved to be there ,the others ended up there for any nunber of reasons ,some like me just fell thorugh the cracks in the system ,or did desperate things because they were in desperatye situtations,yes i stold my fosters car and i drove it 200 miles at 14 ,was it a joy ride ,something i did just to be bad ? was i just a kid that loved trouble or a kid that was so alone that even bad attention was better than no attention?i took the car because like any 14 year old i thought i could go back home to my dad i wanted to go home,even though he didnt want me and treated me like shit ,it was better than being alone. kids learn in places like that ,they learn that nothings fair ,that being honest is being weak ,and they learn if you want something you got to take it. some of them learn the real truth ,that no one is gonna come for you ,that no one cares about you ,that no one ever will .and there is no way out ,those kids end up like adam cause being dead is better than being alone

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#84686 - 11/16/06 12:42 PM Re: RIP Adam Rickwood
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
OK another kid took his life in a childrens home last night aged 16yo, he hung himself.
If we go back to Adam, he killed himself in a solitary cell.

Most ppl go shock horror when they read it, then just forget it happened.
I DONT, we DONT, and nothing will be done if nobody cares, but if we do, we can do something to stop it recurring.

The one thing I can tell you, is that it is worthless to approach the state, you need to approach those who are doing the sentencing, the judiciary and legal professions.

How can a doctor treat an abused kid?
What? Do the cops know!
Do social workers know what to do?
How many legal people, know what they go through?
How many judges can relate to csa?
Even psyche docs dont understand it.

The answer to all the questions equals, they dont and cannnot know.
If the Governments just turn a blind eye, then we need to wake them up.

We owe it to these kids of the future to wake these sleepers up and educate them.
I am just getting tired typing up this stuff, but theres loads more,

ste

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