HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 cc366-7W
Mr. Clappison

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many 15 and 16-year-olds are currently held on remand in prison; in which prisons; and what plans he has to end the practice of remanding 15 and 16-year-olds in adult prisons. [102792]

Mr. Boateng

On 31 October, the latest date for which these figures are available, there were 31 15-year-olds and 130 16-year-olds on remand in prison. The table shows where they were held.

Aged 15 Aged 16
Altcourse 4
Brinsford 6 27
Cardiff 2 3
Castington 5
Doncaster 3 12
Exeter 2
Feltham 10 34
Glen Parva 5 19
Gloucester 2
Hindley 2 8

Aged 15 Aged 16
Hull 2
Lancaster Farms 3
Northallerton 1 6
Norwich 2
Parc 1
Swansea 2
Total 31 130

Following a building programme which provided 170 additional places in local authority secure units, in June this year we introduced court ordered secure remands to local authorities for 12 to 16-year-old girls, 12 to 14-year-old boys and 15 and 16-year-old boys who were vulnerable and for whom a place was available.

We are now strengthening bail support, through £35 million Youth Justice Board grants and a statutory duty from April on local authorities to operate appropriate bail support schemes. The Prison Service is investing more than £50 million in creating a distinct juvenile estate which will be able to hold young people on remand where they would be reasonably near to courts. The Youth Justice Board will take over the purchasing and commissioning of secure juvenile accommodation from April, to ensure effective use of available places and to plan for future needs. How far we can reduce remands to prisons in the short-term depends on the total numbers remanded and on overall demands on available accommodation. In the light of proposals from the Board, we will make clear in the New Year what we expect to achieve by when in removing young people on remand from prison accommodation.