My Lords, with the leave of the House, I will now repeat in the form of a Statement the Answer to an Urgent Question given by my honourable friend the Member for Charnwood. The Statement is as follows:
“I am grateful to the honourable Lady for tabling this Urgent Question and for the opportunity to respond on this very important subject. I am also grateful to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for its work and the scrutiny its inspections provide. I take the safety of all the young people in our custody very seriously, and clearly this urgent notification letter for Feltham A does not make for comfortable reading. It is clearly a deeply disappointing and concerning report.
Despite the significant efforts of staff at Feltham A, to whom I pay tribute, and the significant support and resources put in by the Youth Custody Service and the Ministry of Justice, it is clear that serious underlying challenges remain. I have been clear that progress to address these issues needs to be swifter to deliver the safe environment that we all wish to see—which, as recent reports acknowledge, we see in other parts of the youth custodial estate.
Therefore, we have already taken a set of immediate steps in addition to work already under way, including placing an immediate temporary stop on the new placement of young people to Feltham A, alongside additional resources and support for staff.
The governor is still relatively new in post, and she is working hard to drive improvements to an establishment that has one of the highest and most concentrated proportions of violent offenders in the country. She and her team are dedicated to turning Feltham A around, and we will continue to support them to do that.
As required by the urgent notification process, we will formally respond with an action plan within the required 28 days”.