HC Deb 28 June 1979 vol 969 c626
3. Mr. Kilroy-Silk

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to end the remand of schoolchildren to prisons and remand centres.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Leon Brittan)

The Government endorse the principle that juveniles on remand should not be detained in prison department establishments. We are considering what the next step should be towards further reducing the number of such remands.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that, instead of his concentrating on increasing the number of detention centres or introducing the so-called short, sharp shock treatment, it would be wiser for him and his Department to concentrate on ending this blight of sending innocent children to prison?

Mr. Brittan

I do not believe that changes in the treatment of offenders on the lines indicated by the hon. Gentleman are in any way inconsistent with furthering the goal that we all share, which is to stop the remanding of schoolchildren to prisons and remand centres.

Mr. Jim Marshall

Does the Minister agree that the Harmondsworth detention centre is a most unsuitable place in which to detain young children? Does the Home Office have any view on the ending of that practice?

Mr. Brittan

As I have said, the Home Office considers it quite wrong that any schoolchildren should be remanded in prison or remand centre. Steps have already been taken regarding, girls, and we are considering, in consultation with the local authorities, moves in respect of 14-year-old boys.

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