HC Deb 25 November 1999 vol 339 c180W
Mr. Crausby

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will conduct a national review of the care of vulnerable young prison inmates in young offenders centres. [98673]

Mr. Boateng

A review was carried out of all forms of secure accommodation for young offenders and young people held on remand as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). As a result, a programme of reform of the current arrangements was announced by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary in a reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford and Urmston (Ms Hughes), now the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, on 29 July 1998, Official Report, columns 255-56W. This included the provision of £51 million to improve accommodation and regimes for under-18-year-olds in prison custody. These resources will provide for a new distinct estate for 15 to 17-year-old boys and enhanced regime standards to operate within it. This will support the delivery, from April 2000, of the new custodial sentence for under-18-year-olds under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the Detention and Training Order. The new regime standards emphasise the importance of safeguarding the welfare of the young person, recognising the needs and vulnerability of this age group.

In addition, three units are being created within Young Offender Institutions for young people sentenced under section 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 to meet their special needs where relevant.

The review also resulted in a new central co-ordinating role for the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales. From April 2000, the Board will be responsible for the commissioning and purchasing of places in all forms of juvenile secure accommodation.