Report (2nd Day)

Part of Criminal Justice and Courts Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 22nd October 2014.

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Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice) 5:30 pm, 22nd October 2014

My Lords, I have effectively spoken to this amendment in dealing with the issue of girls and boys being housed together. I will not therefore take the time of the House for very long but will just report that today the Women’s Resource Centre and Women’s Breakout have issued a statement concerning this matter. It says:

“Government plans to allay the … safeguarding concerns … by fencing-off girls and vulnerable children are inadequate. Girls will still be held alongside boys in the separated area, so safeguarding risks remain. The proposed fenced-off area will be a ‘prison within a prison’, likely to be reminiscent of the claustrophobic … units in Young Offenders Institutions, which have … been closed down … Girls in custody are an immensely vulnerable group. A Prison Inspectorate survey found that 61% of girls in young offender institutions had been in local authority care, compared to 33% of boys. A Youth Justice Board report found that one in three girls had experience of sexual abuse, and one in five had experienced violence in the home. There are so few girls in custody that they can easily be accommodated in the smaller, and far more appropriate, Secure Children’s Homes. There is no need to hold them in a secure college”.

I adopt that view and invite the House to do so. I beg to move.