Chesterfield teen’s cell death highlighted in TV documentary

Jake Hardy
Jake Hardy

The death of a vulnerable Chesterfield teenager who hanged himself in a custody cell is to be featured in a BBC TV documentary.

Bolton coroner’s court heard this month how Jake Hardy, 17, of Stonegravels, Chesterfield, hanged himself on January 20, 2012, while he was serving a sentence for affray and assault at Hindley youth offenders’ institution in Wigan.

The inquest jury concluded he died four days later as a result of his own deliberate act but found multiple failings by YOI staff contributed to his death after he had been bullied by inmates.

Jake is one of three young people who have died in custody and they are to be featured in the documentary called Dead Behind Bars from 9pm, on Thursday, on April 24, for BBC Three.

The film was inspired by the charity INQUEST’s groundbreaking 2012 report Fatally Flawed which examined deaths in prison of children and young people aged 24 and under.

Building on this work, INQUEST worked in alliance with others, calling for a review into young deaths in prison.

In February, the Government agreed to commission an independent review into the deaths of 18-24 year-olds.

INQUEST is continuing to call for the remit to be broadened to include an examination of the deaths of youngsters whose stories are presented in this film.

Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST, said: “The deaths of children and young people in prison should be a national scandal prompting national debate and government action. Inquest after inquest shows that many of the deaths could and should have been prevented and that the mechanisms set up to protect vulnerable young people are failing.

“We are pleased to have been involved in the development of this important film. Through families’ voices the reality of what is done to some of our most vulnerable children and young people is powerfully exposed and underlines why an overhaul of the treatment of children and young people in conflict with the law is so desperately needed.”

Emma Wakefield, Executive Producer at Lambent Productions which made the documentary for BBC Three, said: “This powerful film tells a shocking story. Articulated through the experiences of the bereaved families it offers a very personal look at what happens when your child dies behind bars. Since we started filming in September 2013, nine young people aged 21 and under have died.”