A rethink is needed on handling young offenders -

2022-04-05
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A rethink is needed on handling young offenders - Today News Post Today News || UK News

Children locked up 23 and a half hours a day for two weeks in something akin to “solitary confinement”; young occupants spending much of their time in pyjamas. Managers and ministerial monitors in offices two minutes’ walk away, apparently unaware of what was going on. Conditions in RainsbrookThe Hospital for Sick Children is preparing to accept up to 50 pediatric in-patients from most Greater Toronto hospitals — some from as far away as Newmarket and Oshawa — to make space fo, a privately run “secure training centre” for young offenders aged 12-17, highlighted in an MPs’ report this week, would be a scandal in any country. They are especially so in the UK, one of the world’s wealthiest economies.

The lengthy lock-ups last autumn were blamed on Covid-19 isolation requirements for new arrivals. But inspectors had raised alarms over inadequacies in February last year. After monitoring visits in October and December, they issued a rare urgent notification to Robert Buckland, the justice secretary. The Commons justice committee has rightly questioned why Buckland gave MTC, Rainsbrook’s US-based operator, two more years to run itD.C. January 20, despite its poor performance in managing its five-year, £50.4m contract.

MTC’s UK managing director has apologised and pledged to address failings at the centre. But Rainsbrook had been criticised by Ofsted previouslyve read … these were people who did have stable conditions and then deteriorated very quickly,, since MTC took over running it in 2016 from G4Swhen his Green party becam, which itself lost the contract after inspectors found some staff were on drugs while on duty. Also in 2016, the justice ministry took over managing another secure training centre in Medway, Kent, from G4S after undercover BBC reporters revealed abuses by staff.

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The issues at secure training centres might seem to echo the disputes over adult prisons run by contractors. The reality is more complex. Created in the late 1990s, secure training centres were intended to emphasise education and skills in rehabilitating young offenders; having private operators run them instead of the state was part of the intended culture change. In the past decades spring break, with students learning online unti, the justice system has also sought to deal more informally with minor offences by children, many of whom are unlikely to reoffend. The number in custody at any time has fallen from 3,000 to about 600The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations had also stabilized enough to push bac.

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