‘I would have camped outside that prison every day’, says mother of hanged teenager

Jake Hardysource: BY LINE
published: 30 November 2018

The mother of a boy who hanged himself in prison after being relentlessly bullied said she would have “camped outside every single day” if she had known just how damaging an environment it was.

Liz Hardy’s 17-year-old son Jake Hardy committed suicide in his cell at Hindley Young Offenders Institution (YOI) in 2012 after bullying by other prisoners and staff left him unable to cope.

The teenager, who had mental health problems and special educational needs, had recently self-harmed and had previously been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder. It was his first time in custody.

His suicide note read:  “So mum if you are reading this, I’m not alive as I cannot cope in prison. People keep giving me shit, even the staff.”

Speaking at the launch of a campaign to ‘End Child Imprisonment’ in Parliament last week, Ms Hardy said the system had completely failed Jake.

“If I had known what I know now, I would have camped outside that prison,” she said. “I would have been there every single day. I thought he would be fed, watered, kept clean, warm and that he would have a nice bed to sleep in and that the basics would be there, I didn’t expect prison officers to look after him like I did, but I thought he’d get the basics. My son didn’t get any of that.”

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