Barnardo’s Your Rights, Your Voice – Children’s Rights and Advocacy
The children’s charity Barnardo’s has Children’s Rights and Advocacy workers in each young offender institution (YOI) and secure training centre (STC). Barnardo’s workers are separate from the YOI or STC you are held in. Soon after you arrive in the YOI or STC, a Barnardo’s worker will meet with you to explain what help you can have and how you can make contact with the service if you ever need support. There is also a freephone helpline number that you can call if you would like to talk to someone about any problems: 0808 168 2694.
- Independent Monitoring Boards
Every young offender institution (YOI) has an Independent Monitoring Board. Members of this Board visit your prison regularly. They are ordinary members of the public, not connected to the prison or the Government. They can help protect your rights.
- Secure Training Centre Monitor
Each of England’s three secure training centres has a person called a Monitor. They are part of the Government’s prison service. The law says this person can investigate any complaints you have.
- Legal help
The charity Howard League for Penal Reform runs a runs a free, private legal service for children and young people in prison up to the age of 21 years. Telephone number: 0808 801 0308 (Monday to Friday 9am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm). You don’t need to get permission from the prison to call; 0808 801 0308 is a designated global number. If you cannot call when the lines are open, you can leave a message any time. Make sure to give your name, prison and prison number.
- Other legal advice and advocacy
Just for Kids Law charity offers legal advice and advocacy to children and young people in London, including those who are in prison. Telephone number: 0203 174 2279. The charity’s Youth Justice Legal Centre number is 0203 174 2279.
- Complain to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
You can make a complaint to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman if you have already tried to get a complaint sorted within your prison but are still not happy. An advocate should be able to help you with this. You must be in touch with the Ombudsman within three months of getting the final answer to any complaint you made to your prison. Write to: Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, PO Box 70769, London, SE1P 4XY. Make sure to give your name, prison and prison number.
- You can also contact Help At Hand at the Children’s Commissioner for England’s office.
Telephone – 0800 528 0731 (you won’t be charged for this)
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
As a person with rights, you should always be respected and listened to.