Schedule 4

Part of Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 25th October 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice 2:30 pm, 25th October 2007

The review will provide important background information to our debates on how to improve safety. My hon. Friend has mentioned Inquest. The review is, in a sense, an arm’s length Government review. With my right hon. Friend the Minister for Children, Young People and Families, I have appointed two independent chairs. They are conducting the review independent of Government. I am sure that Inquest will submit evidence to them. When I gave evidence in another place last week, Inquest were present. I have no doubt that they will follow the process with interest and play an active role in it.

Although I cannot accept his clause, I feel that the hon. and learned Member for Harborough has made some very strong points. I take seriously the safety regime in young offender institutions and secure training centres. In my view they are, for the most part, very positive. In future, I want to tackle some of the causes of offending behaviour which have brought young people into custody in the first place with a positive education and health regime.

We have taken a number of important general measures such as the separation of under-18s from over-18s, and we are developing new high-dependency units for more vulnerable boys to help support those individuals. To give the Committee some context, there are more than 300 places in secure training centres; more than 2,500 in young offender institutions; and more than 230 in secure children’s homes. They are very cost intensive: secure training centre places cost £170,000 a year; young offender institution places cost £50,000 per year; and secure children’s home places cost £190,000 per year. I want those resources to be  used effectively to prevent reoffending. It will be a failure of our system if the young people who are sentenced to and attend those institutions leave them and graduate to adult prisons. I want both security and effective rehabilitation to be part of the process.

I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman to reflect on those points. I hope that I have offered him some satisfaction, and I ask him to not to press his new clause. I urge the Committee to accept the Government amendments.