In the year since the United Nations demanded an end to the scandal of children in custody in Britain, the Government has presided over a steep increase in the number of young offenders who are locked up. An attempt to reduce the incarceration rate has flopped, with the child prison population rising by almost 10 per cent.

Penal reformers, who launch a campaign today to shame ministers into action, blame the increase on tough rhetoric used by politicians in the run-up to the general election.
And they warn that the toll of vulnerable children who commit suicide - 29 since 1990, including two this year - will continue to rise without a dramatic change of policy.

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