Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Life in a young offenders' institution

Since the August riots, we have been locking up more children, but to what effect? To find out, our reporter was granted a rare three days of access to Ashfield young offenders' institution
Ashfield young offenders' institution
Inmates at Ashfield young offenders' institution. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian
Amelia Gentleman

The Guardian, Mon 21 Nov 2011 20.00 GMT

Evening: reception
A custody van drives into Ashfield juvenile prison just outside Bristol just before 8pm and lets out the skinny, hunched figure of Ryan Lewis, who has just turned 16 and is stepping inside prison for the first time. His initiation begins in a windowless reception room, with harsh strip lighting, decorated with a small fish tank, a gloomy pot plant and posters warning new prisoners that if they bite the staff they can expect to get an extra 28 days added to their sentence. The room smells of fish and chips, which is what prisoners arriving late from court are given to eat that day while they sit in a holding cell, waiting to be searched.

The whole article::