HL Deb 03 February 2004 vol 656 cc93-4WA
Lord Northbourne

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 8 January 2003 (HL Debs. Cols. 247–49) on race relations in the Prison Service, whether the humiliation of juvenile offenders by prison officers is consistent with the Government's policy to increase inclusion and reduce recidivism. [HL825]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal)

The Government's policy, and that of the Prison Service, is that all prisoners should be treated with humanity and dignity. Prison Service managers and staff working with juveniles have special responsibilities, given the nature and characteristics of that age group. They have a duty not only to protect and safeguard the young people in their care as required by the Children Act 1989, but also to act as "significant adults", behaving in a way that will assist the young people's personal development, help maintain a safe and secure environment and help to prevent the young people reoffending. Any reported incidents of "humiliation of juvenile offenders by prison officers" will be fully investigated and appropriate action taken.

The Prison Service is working in partnership with the Youth Justice Board and other departments and agencies to improve the quality and delivery of its juvenile regimes and to ensure more consistent implementation of child protection and safeguards policy across its juvenile estate.