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All children removed from Rainsbrook

All children are to be removed from Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre, the Lord Chancellor has announced.

Robert Buckland has confirmed that work is underway to move all children from the privately-run Secure Training Centre amid serious ongoing concerns about safety and performance.

The Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland said: “Six months ago, I demanded that MTC take immediate action to fix the very serious failings at Rainsbrook.

“They have failed to deliver and I have been left with no choice but to ask that all children are moved elsewhere as soon as possible.

“This move will help protect the public by ensuring often vulnerable children get the support they need to turn their lives around – ultimately resulting in fewer victims and safer streets,” he added.

Private provider MTC was issued with a comprehensive action plan in January 2021, setting out the vital and urgent measures necessary to ensure all young people at Rainsbrook were properly cared for.

Rainsbrook addressed the main problem which was the amount of time children were spending out of their rooms after it emerged that children detained there were  locked up for more than 23 hours per day on arrival at the institution.

The joint inspection by the HMI Prisons, the Care Quality Commission and Ofsted found there was “no rationale” to support the practice of holding new inmates in isolation for 23.5 hours per day for two weeks in order for them to self-isolate in line with COVID-19 guidance.

However, even though the STC were issued with two improvement notices and robust monitoring was introduced, the government does not believe that the action taken by the provider over the last six months has been sufficient to resolve wider long-standing issues.

In March, members of the House of Commons Justice Committee were left “shocked and appalled” by the treatment of children at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre.

Following Lord Buckland’s announcement, all young people at Rainsbrook will be placed in safe and secure centres across the estate.

As part of the decision to explore options on the future of Rainsbrook STC:

  • Negotiations are ongoing with provider MTC on the future of the contract
  • Options may include bringing the STC back under public sector control and repurposing the site for alternative use
  • The Youth Custody Service will oversee the imminent transfer of the 33 children currently at Rainsbrook into other areas of the youth estate.

Preliminary findings from a recent Ofsted investigation – which rated the STC ‘inadequate’ – have further bolstered the case for immediate, remedial action. The full report will be published shortly.

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