Pending the completion of the new building programme, there are at present four detention centres: two for offenders aged 14 and under 17, and two for those aged 17 and under 21.
The proportion of courts in England and Wales that have been notified that a detention centre is available to them for the reception of offenders between the ages of 14 and 17 is as follows: 33 courts of assize—including the Central Criminal Court and the Crown Courts at Liverpool and Manchester—out of 68; 85 courts of quarter sessions out of 164; and magistrates' courts in the metropolitan stipendiary court area, in 88 cities and boroughs out of 151, and in 313 petty sessional divisions of counties out of 730.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Question that he has answered was put down in the same words ten years ago, and that since then the increase in crimes of violence by young offenders has vastly outstripped the provision of detention centres? Is he further aware that it is now much harder to get a young delinquent into a detention centre than it is to get a normal boy into a public school? Will he bear in mind that many citizens have been attacked and some killed, many women assaulted and some raped? Will he bear in mind also that it is essential that every court should have an adequate deterrent of one kind or another so that the public may be protected against these young thugs?
I find myself in entire agreement with what my hon. Friend has said. Eight more centres are at present under construction. As he knows, three will be opened in the early months of next year.