§ Mr. McTaggart
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he plans to take on the recommendations contained in the report of Her Majesty's inspector of prisons regarding children in prison.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
In "Children in Prison" published on 17 July 1986, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland recommended a procedure to monitor the number of children placed in penal custody and to publish annually the information which was obtained. My right hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) accepted this recommendation in his response to the report.
It is our policy that the use of penal establishments for detaining children should be kept to a minimum. We have made substantial grant aid available to local authorities and voluntary school managers to provide additional secure accommodation as an alternative to penal establishments for remand and assessment of children. We are also encouraging local arrangements to reduce the use of unruly certificates by courts under the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975 to commit young people to prison. In 1986 the number of children under unruly certificates fell to less than half that for 1985.
Children subject to residential training orders under sections 206 and 413 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975 are now only exceptionally placed in penal establishments. In recent years no child has been so
Committee Name of Member Nominating Body or Bodies North England Lady Elizabeth Kirk Countryside Commission East England C. Stratton Council for the Protection of Rural England West England R. Jarman Royal Society for Nature Conservation Royal Society for the Protection of Birds D. W. Hildred Ramblers Association Wales Mrs. D. M. Raikes Countryside Commission Council for the Protection of Rural Wales Royal Society for Nature Conservation North Scotland Professor C. Gimingham Scottish Wildlife Trust
detained under a section 413 order and under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1987, such placement under section 413 orders is abolished with effect from 1 April next.
Information on numbers of children received into or held in custody on remand or on sentence is now published in the statistical bulletin "Prison Statistics Scotland" which is available in the Library.