Vulnerable ‘at risk in mass secure units for juveniles’
source: The Observer
published: 29 Nov 2014
Controversial plans that would see children “warehoused” in a new generation of large-scale secure colleges for juvenile offenders will be confirmed on Monday [24 November].
Peers in the House of Lords had tabled amendments to the criminal justice and courts bill so that the colleges would exclude boys under the age of 15 and all girls. But the government will reject the amendments when the bill goes back before parliament.
The move will dismay prison reform groups, who are concerned by plans to create large units capable of holding up to 320 offenders, including girls and boys aged between 12 and 17.
The government believes the colleges will provide a more healthy environment for young offenders, one that is more like a school than a prison, and stresses that girls and younger boys will be protected because they will be held in separate, fenced-off blocks.
However, an alliance including the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prison Reform Trust claims the colleges pose “serious and unprecedented safeguarding risks”.