§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Brynmor John)
Within the current constraints on manpower and expenditure, régimes in detention centres continue to operate satisfactorily, but they are kept under review.
§ Mr. Sims
Does the Minister of State recall that the original idea of the detention centre was that it should offer a short, sharp shock to the offender? Does he agree that there are certain types of offender for whom that is a particularly appropriate means of treatment and will he consider restoring to the régime in detention centres something that will provide a brief treatment in a disciplined 532 environment for offenders such as hooligans and vandals.
§ Mr. Kilroy-Silk
Does my right hon. Friend accept that the régime, indeed, the whole philosophy of the detention centres is not conducive to the rehabilitation of the individual offender? Can he say what progress is being made in implementing the legislative commitment to phase out the junior detention centres, and when he expects to be able to implement it?
§ Mr. John
The Advisory Council on the Penal System, which produced the Bishop of Exeter's report, laid strong emphasis on the rehabilitation of the offender in order to prepare him for life in the community after leaving a centre. I am bound to say that at the moment there is little possibility of the phasing out of junior detention centres, in view of the constraints on resources.
§ Mr. Alison
For the benefit of the House will the Minister of State clarify what is the essential feature of a detention centre that differentiates it from a prison?