Girl of 12 thrown into jail on Isle of Man

A 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old youth are being kept in a Victorian adult jail on the Isle of Man in a system that was condemned yesterday as "barbaric".

The girl, who has not been convicted on any offence, is being housed in a cell in a special annexe of the prison inside the perimeter wall.

She is kept away from adult inmates but can mix with offenders aged up to 16.

She has been at the jail for four days on remand and will go before the court again on Wednesday where she could be sentenced to return to the prison. Until a few days ago a 14-year-old was also at the jail awaiting trial, but has been released after his parents agreed to take care of him.

A civil liberty group pledged yesterday to take the case to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The juveniles at Victoria Road Prison in Douglas, the island's capital, are locked in modern, adult-style cells from about 8pm to 8am.

Under island laws, children as young as 10 can be detained in the island's only prison, which currently holds three youths aged under 17, two female adults and 88 male inmates.

The 12-year-old girl was sent to the prison last Wednesday. It is understood she is accused of assaulting social workers and damaging property.

The 15-year-old boy at the jail is understood to be serving a six- month sentence for assault and theft.

In the United Kingdom, child offenders aged under 15 are kept in local authority secure accommodation. Penal experts have warned of the dangers of mixing different age groups and sexes and of keeping children in prisons.

Terence McDonald, a Manx advocate, called yesterday for the island's government to establish separate secure accommodation for child criminals. "It is barbaric to lock up children in jail and place them in cells," he said.

"We are rich society and should have a proper accommodation."

Bernard Moffatt, secretary of the Manx Council for Civil Liberty, said his organisation would appeal to the UN: "Locking children up in adult prisons is like something from the Dark Ages. It has got to end."

The Isle of Man has a reputation for retaining harsh, archaic laws. Homosexuality was illegal until 1992 and hanging was only abolished in 1993. In the same year the government voted to retain birching.

There are five cells in the juveniles unit, which have toilets and basins. They are sometimes used by adults when the unit is empty. Parents are allowed to visit every day and the children receive education and recreation. The prison staff who supervise them are given special training.

Rosemary Crosby, the jail's governor, said: "There is a need to put some children in secure accommodation. It is how you deal with them when they are there that is important. We do not have the resources to provide greater facilities."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
A recent rise in net migration has been considered bad news for the Government
voicesYet when we talk about it, the national media goes into a frenzy, says Nigel Farage
Life and Style
Miracle muffin: chemicals can keep a muffin looking good at least a month after it was bought
food + drinkThe alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Sport
Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse come together
football
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic