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Teenager flagged as suicide risk takes his life after 48 hours in prison

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf is meeting William

A weak teenage boy killed himself at Polmont Younger Offenders’ Establishment inside 48 hours of being remanded regardless of having been flagged up as a suicide risk, The Scotsman can reveal.

A 16-year-old boy killed himself at Polmont Younger Offenders’ Establishment in Falkirk inside 48 hours of being remanded there, regardless of having been flagged up as a suicide risk, the Scotsman can reveal.

It’s understood the Scottish Youngsters’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) and Glasgow’s chief social work officer had needed William Lindsay, additionally recognized as Brown, to be put in a safe unit, however there have been no locations obtainable.

The SCRA had additionally needed the case towards Lindsay, who spent his life in and out of care, to be stored inside the youngsters’s listening to system due to his vulnerability, however have been overruled by the Crown Workplace.

In consequence, he appeared earlier than Glasgow Sheriff Courtroom on Thursday, four October charged with possession of a knife, assault and breach of the peace; the sheriff remanded him to Polmont the place he was discovered lifeless the next Sunday.

‘Vulnerable and in need’

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf is meeting William's parents Linda and Stuart Allan (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Two teen suicides at Polmont are being with Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf (Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Pictures)

William’s suicide has induced widespread concern inside the SCRA, Glasgow Metropolis Council, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and the Scottish authorities.

“This boy should never have been anywhere near Polmont,” one supply stated.

“He was vulnerable and in need of mental health support. How is it possible for everybody to agree that a 16-year-old should not go to a jail and yet for him still to end up in jail?”

Final week, Linda and Stuart Allan referred to as for a evaluation of the best way psychological well being is dealt with in the prison system after their daughter killed herself in Polmont.

At a press convention, they claimed Katie, 21, had been bullied by different prisoners and repeatedly strip-searched by employees who failed to note or act on her self-harming wounds.

Katie had been convicted of inflicting critical damage by harmful driving whereas over the drink drive restrict.

She was jailed for 16 months, regardless of a social work report recommending a non-custodial sentence, and killed herself in June. Two different younger males – Liam Kerr, 19, and Robert Wagstaff, 18, took their very own lives in the prison in January 2017.

All of the deaths would be the topic of a compulsory Deadly Accident Inquiry, however that would take as much as 4 years.

Remedy of prisoners

Brown’s demise raises recent considerations concerning the remedy of prisoners in Polmont and the implementation of the SPS’s up to date suicide prevention technique, Speak to Me.

“The suicide of this young boy reinforces everything we want to change,” stated Linda.

“In some ways, it is even more appalling [than Katie’s] because it happened so soon [after he was imprisoned], because he hadn’t yet been convicted and because he had already been identified as a suicide risk prior to going into custody.”

William’s demise additionally raises questions concerning the provision of safe unit locations for younger individuals at risk from themselves or posing a risk to others.

There are simply 5 safe care centres in Scotland, providing a complete of 84 locations.

One among these centres is run by Edinburgh metropolis council; the opposite 4 are run by unbiased, charitable organisations.

These centres – the Good Shepherd safe unit in Bishopton, Kibble protected centre in Paisley, Rossie Farm safe unit in Montrose, and St Mary’s safe unit, Kenure – are a part of a nationwide contract framework managed by Scotland Excel on behalf of the Scottish authorities and the 32 Scottish native authorities.

He walked right into a police station with a knife

Controversially, a considerable portion of locations are taken up by youngsters from English native authorities, as a consequence of a scarcity of capability south of the border and a discount in their use in Scotland.

In line with the Centre for Youth and Felony Justice, the newest figures present placements from outdoors Scotland accounted for 30 per cent of the entire in 2016-17.

One other unit, constructed at St Philips faculty in Airdrie with £5m of public cash, was closed in 2011 simply 5 years after it opened.

Brown, who was first moved into foster care when he was 4, had a historical past of self- harming together with suicide makes an attempt.

Though he had been in hassle in the previous, he had moved again in with his mom and his life was stabilising.

However on 2 October, he walked into Saracen police station with a knife.

“There is no denying this was a serious offence,” a supply stated. “However William was all the time extra of a hazard to himself than different individuals.

“The staff at Polmont were warned it was likely he would kill himself. It is terrible to think he did so within such a short time period.”

A excessive value out-of-favour answer

The issue for Scotland Excel is that – north of the border – the variety of referrals to safe models is dropping, making it troublesome to justify increasing the service.

That is partly because of the value – primary care in a safe unit works out at £5,500 every week. However additionally it is because of a perception that, in common, safe models are usually not ideally suited for younger individuals.

But specialists insist it’s higher for weak younger individuals charged with an offence to be positioned in a safe unit than in a jail.

Linda and Stuart’s solicitor Aamer Anwar is now additionally representing William’s mom Christine.

“What we had been talking about these last few months was the need to ensure that no mother ever again had to go through what Linda has had to go through. Yet here again in the same prison, a young boy, who shouldn’t ever have been there, has killed himself. It can only be described as state-sanctioned violence,” he stated.

“I am sick of reading report after report, Fatal Accident Inquiry after Fatal Accident Inquiry that offer sympathies to these families and do nothing at all to change the system.”

A spokesperson for the SCRA stated: “The SCRA and the COPFS (Crown Workplace and Prcourator Fiscal Service) work intently collectively to make sure that younger individuals concerned in offending behaviour obtain probably the most applicable intervention.

“We’re all the time involved to make sure that younger individuals may be retained and have entry to the welfare-based protections and help of the Youngsters’s Hearings System whereever potential.

“Our work with social work providers all through the nation is a key function of the supply of this welfare-based strategy. We’re deeply involved concerning the circumstances of any younger one that has taken their very own life in this manner and can proceed to work with our companions to make sure that all such circumstances could be prevented and younger individuals are given the help and assist they want on the level once they want it.

“The availability of secure care beds in Scotland is an ongoing issue and we look forward to supporting the next round of commissioning with secure providers in Scotland to ensure that this very specialist support is routinely available.”

When it comes to what occurred to William in Polmont, it’s understood the usual process would have been for him to have been assessed by a psychological well being nurse to determine how he must be managed and what degree of intervention was required.

The duty for healthcare inside Scotland’s jails was transferred from the SPS to the NHS in 2011.

An SPS spokesman stated: “I can confirm a DIPLAR (Death in Prison Learning, Audit and Review) will take place and, like every other death in custody, William’s will be subject to a Fatal Accident Inquiry with which we will fully cooperate.”

The Crown Workplace strategy in the direction of under-18s in the justice system is to stay with the youngsters’s listening to system until there’s a compelling purpose to do in any other case – for instance, a risk to public and disrespect for the regulation.

A spokesman stated: “The investigation into the demise of William Brown (or Lindsay) is ongoing and is underneath the course of Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit (SFIU). There will probably be a compulsory FAI in due course as soon as investigations are full.

“The family will be kept updated in relation to any significant developments.”

Likewise, a spokesman for Glasgow’s well being and social care partnership stated: “We have been made aware of the tragic death of this young person. We will contribute as appropriate to any review of the circumstances that led to his death.”

Linda, Stuart and Anwar are resulting from see Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf on Tuesday and plan to boost William’s demise as nicely as Katie’s.

The Scottish authorities is presently taking a look at methods to enhance the recording of the quantity and distribution of approaches to the Safe Lodging Community and the explanations given for refused placements.

The present contract runs till 31 March 2020, with the subsequent spherical of commissioning resulting from begin in April 2019.

A Scottish authorities spokesman stated: “We recognise many younger individuals getting into the legal justice system have complicated wants and we work with businesses to make sure applicable help is obtainable when wanted.

“Good high quality safe care, which helps enhance outcomes for youngsters with extremely complicated wants to permit them time to re-engage and transfer ahead positively in their group, are wanted in some instances.

“It is for Sheriffs to decide whether or not to commit someone to custody, having considered representations from relevant agencies.”

Shadow justice secretary Daniel Johnson has contacted the Allans to supply help.

“This is the second high profile case to come to public attention within a month, and it seems clear to me that we need to have a serious look at the standard of mental health support and counselling in our justice system, as there appear to be clear problems emerging following the transfer of responsibilities from the prison service to the NHS,” he stated.

“If it is the case that this young person found himself in Polmont because of a lack of secure beds, that would be completely unacceptable.”

This story first appeared in our sister paper, The Scotsman 

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