SCYJ responds to Secure School Pilot announcement

The Justice Secretary has today announced that the location of the first Secure School pilot will be the site currently used as Medway Secure Training Centre (STC). The announcement, made at the Conservative Party Conference 2018, included that they are spending £5m on the creation of the secure school, and will be launching the application and selection process later in October. Responding to the announcement, Chair of the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, Ali Wigzell, said:

“The news that Medway STC is to be converted into a secure school is highly disappointing, and sends a troubling message about the government’s commitment to the reform. When Charlie Taylor recommended the creation of secure schools, he was clear they must offer a step change from current custodial provision in order to be effective. Re-purposing Medway STC as a secure school is a far cry from this intention.

The site itself is too far from London – where the majority of children held there are likely to live – to allow for supported reintegration into society. The building is designed to hold more children than we believe suitable for a secure school, and looks and feels far too much like a custodial institution. The thickness of the walls means remodelling to create a school rather than prison ‘feel’ will be difficult. 

Medway STC has a long and problematic history that will be difficult to shake off. It is hard to have faith that the government is serious about a new, child-first approach to secure care if they insist on using such an unsuitable institution for the first, and currently only, pilot.”

SCYJ is recruiting for our first Director – apply now!

The Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) is seeking to appoint its first Director to lead the organisation’s strategy, management and development on a day-to-day basis. We are looking for someone with energy, passion and commitment to our work. With a track record of strategic leadership and influencing in the field, you will be ambitious and keen to strengthen our role in the youth justice arena as the foremost voice for reform. Possessing expertise in policy change and organisational growth, you will expand our membership, increase our income and deepen our influence in government, parliament and beyond.

Applicants are asked to send a CV and covering letter (of no more than 500 words) outlining why they’re interested in the role and what they could bring to SCYJ. They’re also asked to provide details of two referees.

For more information please see the recruitment pack, available here. To apply please do so through CharityJob, here.

The closing date for applications is midnight on Sunday 21st October 2018. Interviews will be held on Friday 9th November in Central London.

 

 

SCYJ Written Evidence Submission – Offensive Weapons Bill (2017-19)

SCYJ has submitted written evidence to the Public Bill Committee for the Offensive Weapons Bill (2017-19). The Bill creates a number of new laws around the possession and intended use of knives and corrosive substances.

SCYJ opposes measures in the Bill that will increase the use of mandatory minimum custodial sentences for children. This includes by creating an ill-defined and loose offence for possession of corrosive substances, and by substantially lowering the conviction threshold for the offence of threatening with a knife or offensive weapon.

SCYJ opposes mandatory custodial sentences  given that they remove judicial discretion, and there is no evidence that custodial sentences deter children, nor that they are rehabilitative or necessary for public protection.

Read our full submission here.