Childline calls for Youth Detention Centre
Childline Gibraltar has echoed the findings of the European Anti-Torture committee that Windmill Hill prison is “no place for a child”, calling for detained children to be received into the care of Social Services or sent to a properly resourced Youth Detention Centre.
This follows the November report of the committee that inspected detention facilities in Gibraltar last year and concluded, amongst other things, that children were locked up in unsuitable conditions.
In a letter to the Chronicle, Connie Attwood, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “Childline has expressed concern on many occasions about juveniles being detained in an adult prison and being exposed to the wrong sort of peer group learning at a very impressionable age.”
“By way of reassurance we are told that juveniles are not allowed to mix with adult prisoners. Therefore, our young offenders are not only being sent to adult prison but they are also being kept in solitary confinement.”
Childline Gibraltar volunteers come into contact with detained juveniles through its Appropriate Adult Service.
Ms Atwood added that the charity has raised concerns with the relevant ministers that once police interviews with detained juveniles are conclude there is no dedicated service to support these young people.
The committee said in its report, the first of its kind in Gibraltar, that there were no specific rules for managing juveniles in prison as evidenced by the disciplinary and induction procedures.
No tailored regime was in place to support them and staff were not specifically trained to work with juveniles. The inspection team also said that juveniles should be provided with a full programme of education, sport, vocational training and other purposeful out-of-cell activities to avoid being confined to their wing.
FULL LETTER IN PRINT AND E-EDITIONS.