Jake Hardy

Jake HardyA family is left devastated by a 17 year old’s suicide

Compiled from various sources
published: Larry Fedja – December 2012

Updates listed at the foot of this item

17-year-old Jake Hardy died in hospital after he was found hanging in his cell at a young offender’s institution in Wigan. A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “HMYOI Hindley prisoner Jake Hardy was found hanging in his cell at approximately 11.45pm on Friday 20th January 2012. He was then taken to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead at 8.05am on Tuesday 24th January.” 

Jake was serving six months for affray and common assault. Parents, Gary and Elizabeth Hardy, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, had issued a statement to the Observer newspaper demanding to know why their vulnerable child was seemingly able to kill himself in state care.

“We are shocked and devastated by the death of our son,” they said. “Jake was a loving, caring person who was also vulnerable. There have been too many deaths of young people in prison. We support the calls for a public inquiry to understand why this is happening. We don’t want other families to have to go through what we are going through.”

The Prison’s and Probation Ombudsman announced that they would conduct an investigation into the young man’s death. They stated; “Staff attempted resuscitation, paramedics attended and he was taken to an outside hospital.”

They went on to say the investigation would “try to provide answers” to family and friends about what happened and would involve Hardy’s family if they wished to. The investigation will identify lessons to be learned to prevent similar deaths of young people.”

This latest death coincides with newly disclosed evidence that corroborates growing concern about the mental wellbeing of young people in the prison system.

A restricted report, commissioned by the Youth Justice Board, which has responsibility for young people in prison, suggests that the vast majority are unhappy in young offender institutions, the type of prison where Hardy and Kelly were both being held.

The report highlights a poll that found that only 28% of those held in young offender institutions and 32% in secure training centres agreed that it was the best place for them to be held, compared with 65% of those held in a secure children’s home.

Of those in young offender institutions, 68% said they did not spend sufficient time, or any time at all, with their key worker, compared with 12% of those in a secure children’s home.

Across all three types of institution, 27% of young offenders said that they were worried or scared about where they were held, while 22% reported that they had been bullied.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Every death in custody is a tragedy, but particularly that of a child.

“That this death occurred at Hindley prison is also concerning, not least because it is the largest child jail in the whole of Europe.”

At an inquest in April 2014 the jury found that Jake had died as a result of his own deliberate act but that there was not enough evidence to prove he intended to kill himself, and they highlighted a number of failures at the youth jail.

The jury said staff failed to protect him and to investigate the bullying. The jury heard he had been allocated a personal prison officer who had not studied his record and knew nothing of his vulnerabilities.

His mother, Elizabeth Hardy, said: “While we finally have some answers, as a family we have been shocked by the attitude of some of the officers, who clearly just didn’t care that my son was being bullied.

“Other officers took such small steps and but never followed it through to the end. If they had done their job properly they could have prevented Jake’s death”.


Follow-up News:

‘I would have camped outside that prison every day’, says mother of hanged teenager
30 November 2018

Prison officers’ failings contributed to boy’s death, inquest rules
4 April 2014

Tragic inmate was being monitored
26 February 2014

Parents demand inquiry into teenage prison deaths
28 January 2012

Teenage prisoner found hanging in cell
24 January 2012

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