Young Offenders

Home Department written question – answered on 12th February 2004.

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Photo of Mr Simon Thomas Mr Simon Thomas Chief Whip, Spokesperson (Agriculture; Culture; Environment; Heritage; International Development; Sustainable Energy; Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what regulations govern the use of special cells for young offenders; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office

Prison Service Order 1600 sets out the regulations that govern the use of special accommodation for all offenders.

The definition of special accommodation is:

(i) A cell which has been designated as a special cell; or

(ii) An unfurnished cell: a cell which is designated and usually used for ordinary accommodation purposes but from which the usual furniture has been removed and which is either totally unfurnished or does not contain basic items of furniture such as a table and a chair.

Special accommodation may be used for the temporary confinement of a violent or refractory prisoner, but only if its use:

(i) Is necessary in order to prevent the prisoner causing self-injury, injuring another prisoner or staff, or damaging property, or creating a disturbance; and

(ii) Has been properly approved (ie No prisoner shall be placed in special accommodation except on the prior authority of the Governor/Controller in charge).

A prisoner must not be confined in special accommodation as a punishment and, as soon as the original justification for the use of the special accommodation has ceased, the prisoner must be moved from that accommodation. If a prisoner refuses to move from special accommodation and his/her behaviour is such as to require the continued use of special accommodation, then special accommodation may continue to be used.

There are no specific rules governing the use of special accommodation for young offenders generally. Rule 51 of the YOI Rules allows temporary confinement in a special cell to be used for juveniles (under 18s).

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