Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Nowhere safe for children in secure estate warns prisons inspector

Tragedy is inevitable in youth custody given conditions faced by young people

The chief inspector of prisons has warned that the most ‘concerning’ findings throughout the past year were in establishments holding young people.

The outcome of inspections of Young Offender Institutions and Secure Training Centres were ‘very troubling,’ chief inspector Peter Clarke has stated in his annual report.

“In early 2017, I felt compelled to bring to the attention of ministers my serious concern about our findings,” said Mr Clarke. “By February this year we had reached the conclusion that there was not a single establishment that we inspected in England and Wales in which it was safe to hold children and young people.”

There were around 609 children held in YOIs and 155 in STCs. HMIP surveys suggested:

  • 46% of boys had felt unsafe at their establishment.
  • The number of boys reporting being victimised by other boys had risen significantly.
  • Those who said they had been treated with respect by staff had fallen.
  • The proportion of boys engaged in a job (16%), vocational training (11%) and offending behaviour programmes (16%) across the YOIs was lower in 2015–16 than at any point since 2010–11.
  • Inspections of individual establishments showed that none of them at that time reached the standard of ‘good’ or ‘reasonably good’ in the area of safety.

“The fact that we had reached a position where we could not judge any institution to be sufficiently safe was bad enough, but the speed of decline has been staggering. In 2013–14 we found that nine out of 12 institutions were graded as reasonably good or good for safety. The reasons for this slump in standards are no doubt complex, but need to be understood and addressed as a matter of urgency,” said the report.

The chief inspector reported a “vicious circle” of violence leading to a restrictive regime and security measures which in turn frustrate those being held there.

He added that situations are evident where boys are eating every meal alone in their cell, are locked up for excessive amounts of time, and with no plans to break the cycle of violence.

Mr Clarke set out his concerns in February to Dr Lee, the Minister for Victims, Youth and Family Justice. On 24 February, it was announced that a new Youth Custody Service, as a distinct arm of HMPPS, would become responsible for the operational running of the children and young people’s estate.

“Time will tell if their work can break the cycle of violence besetting these establishments. The current state of affairs is dangerous, counterproductive and will inevitably end in tragedy unless urgent corrective action is taken,” he concluded.

HMIP Annual Report 2016-17

 

 

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

All children removed from Rainsbrook

17/06/2021

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 [...]

Read Full Story

Response to 'Case for Change'

17/06/2021

What the children’s services sector said about the independent review into children’s social care.

ADCS

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services President, Charlotte Ramsden, said: “This review is a once in a generation opportunity to make meaningful and lasting change for the children and young people who need our help and support to thrive. The case [...]

Read Full Story

Children’s social care system likened to Jenga tower held together with Sellotape

17/06/2021

Children’s services often intervene with vulnerable families too late, the independent review into children’s social care has stated.

The government’s main focus should be on supporting the resources of families and the wider community to keep children safe as close to a family environment as is possible. While decisive action still needs to be taken [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram