‘Staff assualts doubled’ and ‘improvised weapons’ found in Kent Youth Prison

On the 22nd of September 2015, BBC News released an article exposing Cookham Wood Youth Jail in Rochester, Kent.

Within the first couple of lines of the article, the author states ‘Improvised weapons such as sharpened cutlery had been used during fights.’  Although the author stays fairly unbiased throughout his work, his use of the facts tend to paint a picture of the inmates being nothing but animals;

‘10% of the boys had been convicted of or charged with murder or manslaughter,’

‘In the six months leading up to March 2015 there had been 61 assaults and 92 fights, some of which were very serious,’

‘Assaults on staff had almost doubled since the last inspection with 21 in the preceding six months, some resulting in serious injury.’

All of these facts tend to work against the inmates, as he fails to mention how many of the inmates were involved in the assaults. Thereby painting all inmates with the same brush.

The article then goes on to the interview with Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons. Hardwick tends to focus on the positives, such as, ‘staff numbers have increased; a new education contract has been introduced; staff have been trained in new restraint techniques and safeguarding measures have been strengthened, all of which have had a positive impact on safety and behaviour.’

Hardwick, however, does not fully address the issue of violence, instead opting to praise the prisons new regimes.

Overall, whilst this article has been informative and straight-forward including many facts, the author has been able to push aside his own feelings on the matter and let the reader form their own opinion. However, I think that a follow up article could be beneficial in the future to improve the image of the prison and its inmates, as long as their conditions have improved.


(Unknown, 2015)


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