*R (on the application of the Howard League for Penal Reform) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and another
Case date: 29 November 2002
The Howard League for Penal Reform, the claimant, was the leading non-governmental organisation concerned with penal issues and policy. It started proceedings which raised important questions about what duties the State owed to under-18s in Young Offender Institutions. These institutions were regulated by the Prison Act 1952 and the Young Offender Institution Rules 2000.
The HLPR identified four main problems, to do with the bullying of children, drugs use, self harming and suicidal thoughts, and in occasional cases, suicide attempts. It raised four legal issues:
(i) how far the Children Act 1989 (see below) applied to Young Offender Institutes or to children in those institutes,
(ii) whether the statement that ‘the Children Act 1989 does not apply to under 18-year-olds in prison establishments’ was wrong in law.
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