by: Children & Young People Now
published: 29 January 2014
Ryan Clark, who died in April 2011 after being found unconscious in his cell at Wetherby Young Offender Institution (YOI), was the first child to die in youth custody for four years.
An inquest jury this week found that a string of failures contributed to Ryan’s death:
- The extent of his vulnerability and susceptibility was not picked up on from relevant documents
- Not all support that could have been available for him was provided – including the personal officer scheme, where an officer is allocated to a young offender on arrival in custody to provide support
- Wetherby YOI’s scheme to address bullying and intimidation was ineffective
In light of the verdict, campaign organisation, INQUEST, reiterated calls for a major review of deaths of young people in custody to be staged.
The jury concluded that Ryan’s actions were a “cry for help” due to the amount of verbal abuse and physical threats he was experiencing, rather then intentional suicide, and ruled by majority that his death was accidental.