Prisons

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Office – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 31st January 2005.

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Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Security and Community Safety), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 2:30 pm, 31st January 2005

I understand my hon. Friend's concern, and every Member of the House will agree that the death of any young person in custody is a terrible tragedy. It is important to have appropriate accommodation for young people, but I am afraid that, in some circumstances—when they could present a serious threat to the community, for example—it is appropriate for them to be held in custody.

This is a matter that we take very seriously and my hon. Friend is right to say that we need adequate secure accommodation. Indeed, many young people are held in local authority secure accommodation. I understand the depth of his personal feelings on this issue, but it is important that young people, as well as adults, are held in the right accommodation and that we get the balance absolutely correct.