Report (2nd Day)

Part of Criminal Justice and Courts Bill – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 22nd October 2014.

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Photo of Lord Faulks Lord Faulks The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice 6:30 pm, 22nd October 2014

I am perfectly happy to accept the costs from the noble Lord. As regards the offending rate, one needs to look over a long period. He tells me those rates but I have not had a chance to see those specific rates or for how long a period. However, I am sure that there are variations within the secure college estate. It would cost around £100 million each year to do what seems to be suggested, which is not a viable solution. It is, as we know, easy to forget the deficit, but this Government do not do so.

Although the secure college pathfinder will have a capacity of 320, the site is composed of seven distinct accommodation buildings, with some broken down into smaller living units. Young people can be accommodated in distinct groups, a sense of community can be fostered in each, and the younger and more vulnerable groups can be kept separately if that is considered appropriate. Our plans demonstrate that big does not mean imposing and impersonal. The size will enable a breadth of services and opportunities to be offered.

It is a consequence of the welcome and significant reduction in the number of young people in custody that there are fewer custodial establishments and that some young people inevitably will be detained further from home. This is not a new problem and, for the reasons I have outlined, a network of small, local facilities is not, sadly, a viable alternative. However, distance from home remains one of the factors taken into account by the Youth Justice Board when placing young people in custody. I am sure that that will be very much a factor. Furthermore, there will be visits as well as technology.

I recognise what lies behind these amendments. I acknowledge the very real concern of noble Lords about young people, whether they are under-15s, girls or more widely, but we genuinely believe that we have sufficient flexibility in the system. We do not think that these requirements should find themselves into law. I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.