The Children’s Right Alliance or England (CRAE), Howard League for Penal Reform (HL) and Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) are seriously concerned by several aspects of the plans for Secure Colleges. We have outlined these in our written submission to the Criminal Justice and Courts Public Bill Committee. Some of the aspects we are concerned about are:
- The effect large institutions will have on the safety and outcomes of the most vulnerable children placed there.
- The safeguarding implications of accommodating girls and younger children with a large number of older boys.
- The permitted use of “reasonable force… to ensure good order and discipline” on children within secure colleges despite this being deemed illegal in 2008 and therefore removed from STC rules.
- The lack of a strong duty to assess and pursue each child’s best interests to protect their welfare needs
- The high cost of the untested pathfinder secure college – £85 million – when youth justice budgets are tight and the lack of detail about Secure Colleges.
We have also given oral evidence to the Criminal Justice and Courts Public Bill Committee