Secure Accommodation: Young Offenders

Home Department written question – answered on 27th March 2007.

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Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening Vice-Chair (Youth), Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 9 March 2007, Official Report, column 2329W, on secure accommodation: young offenders, what measures are (a) in place and (b) under consideration to create contingency places in the Youth Justice secure estate; how many places each measure is expected to create; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

holding answer 23 March 2007

The Youth Justice Board has been developing extra capacity in the secure estate for children and young people in response to recent increased demand and has added 342 additional places since April 2004. On 22 March, 237 available places in the estate were unoccupied.

The Board's Strategy for the Secure Estate for Children and Young People sets out plans for further developing the estate over the longer term.

The following measures are in hand to create extra capacity in the short- to medium-term:

the Board is exploring the possibility of purchasing more places at Feltham YOI - which is in an area of high population demand. If this can be achieved, some places elsewhere in the estate would be made over to the over-18 estate. There would be a net increase of 24 under-18 places; the Board is increasing capacity at Hindley YOI. It is planned that the programme of work will be completed by July 2007, with a net increase of 48 places.

As a contingency measure, the board is considering spot-purchasing up to 20 additional places in secure children's homes.

In the longer term, the board plans to create several high-dependency units in the Prison Service estate for more vulnerable boys. The first will be at Wetherby YOI and is scheduled to open in summer 2008. The opening of the unit will secure a net increase of 48 places.

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