18 Jul 2023

Cookham Wood: weapons and violence rife at young offenders institute, report reveals

Europe Editor and Presenter

Children armed themselves with homemade weapons for protection at a young offenders institution in Kent where violence was rife – a damning report has revealed.

228 makeshift weapons were found over a period of six months at Cookham Wood in Rochester. Some of the 77 boys it holds were kept in solitary confinement for days on end – two of them for more than 100 days – to “manage conflict” between the inmates.

Prison inspectors described staff as “demoralised” and “frightened”, while some bosses “stayed out of sight in their offices”. The detention facility was placed in emergency measures in April.