The Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) has responded to HM Chief Inspector of Prisons’ Annual Report, published today. The Chief Inspector had concluded that no child custody institution was safe for children, and that the “speed of decline has been staggering”. He cautioned of “tragedy” if the situation was not resolved. In response, SCYJ Chair, Ali Wigzell, has said:
“The Chief Inspector of Prisons’ finding that not a single prison is safe to hold children is a damning indictment of the current system. The appalling conditions in Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) and Secure Training Centres (STCs) are a national scandal. The Chief Inspector has said that the situation will end in tragedy if nothing is done; we urge the Government to take urgent action to tackle this crisis before it is too late.
Today’s report confirms that YOIs and STCs are unsafe for children. As a matter of urgency, the government must implement its plans to increase resources in YOIs. Alongside, we urge the government to keep true to its endorsement of the Taylor Review’s vision of abolishing YOIs and STCs and publish its timetable for doing so immediately. A comprehensive plan for secure schools must now also be outlined, which learns the lessons from reports of existing institutions, particularly that YOIs and STCs are simply too large to hold children safely.”