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Youth Custody

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 7th November 2014.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many offenders in youth custody have been placed in segregation units in each year since May 2010.

Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the (a) average and (b) longest periods of time is that offenders in youth custody have been placed in segregation units in each year since May 2010.

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Overall crime and proven offending by young people has fallen in recent years. Fewer young people have entered the criminal justice system, and as a result fewer young people have ended up in custody. The average number of young people in custody fell from 2,418 in 2009/10 to 1,233 in 2013/14, a decrease of 49%.

There are some occasions when it is necessary to remove young people from association because their behaviour is likely to be so disruptive that keeping them on ordinary location would be unsafe, or because their own safety and wellbeing cannot reasonably be assured by other means. Removal from association cannot be used as a punishment, and there are careful limits placed on the length of time for which young people can be separated. In the consultation on our plans for Secure College Rules we are seeking views on the safeguards that should be included in the Rules to ensure that separation is used appropriately in Secure Colleges.

Young people in Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) cannot be removed from association and placed in a separation and care unit for more than 72 hours without the authority of the Secretary of State. If authorised by the Secretary of State, separation cannot be for longer than for 14 days, but it may be renewed after review for the same period again.

The Secure Training Centre (STC) rules state that a young person cannot be removed from association for more than three hours in any 24-hour period. The regulatory framework for Secure Children Homes (SCH) does not set a time limit on the use of separation.

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) for England & Wales does not collect data on the number of offenders who were subject to separation[1], but does collect data on the number of incidents of separation.

Table 1 below shows the number of incidents of separation that took place in STCs and SCHs in each year since April 2010.

Table 1: The number of separation incidents in SCHs and STCs in each year since April 2010

Establishment type

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14[2]

Secure Children’s Home

3,350

3,318

2,320

1,899

Secure Training Centre

1,112

563

392

488

Total

4,462

3,881

2,712

2,387

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) does not collect data on the number of young offenders who were subject to an incident of separation, but does count the total number of young people in segregation[3] in each 24-hour period. For example, one young person in segregation for five days and one young person segregated for two hours would count as six young people in segregation (5 days + 1 day). This data is, however, only available for the period from October 2012 to September 2014.

Table 2 shows the total number of young people in segregation in YOIs in each year since October 2012, based on adding together the daily counts of the number of young people in segregation in each 24-hour period. Due to the nature of the counting rules, this does not indicate the number of individual young people held in segregation, as an incident can be counted multiple times if the segregation period covers more than a single 24-hour period.

Table 2: Total number of young people in segregation in YOIs in each year since October 2012, based on adding together the daily counts of the number of young people in segregation in each 24-hour period

Establishment type

Oct-12 to Sep-13

Oct-13 to Sep-14

Young Offender Institution

10,778

7,970

The Youth Justice Board collects data on time in separation in both STCs and SCHs in the following time bands: 0-15 minutes, 16-30 minutes, 31-60 minutes, 61-120 minutes, 121-180 minutes and 181+ minutes. Therefore it is not possible to state the average duration or the longest period of time for which young people are in separation. NOMS does not hold the equivalent data for YOIs.

Table 3 shows the number of separation incidents in STCs and SCHs in each year since April 2010 by duration band.

Table 3: The number of separation incidents in SCHs and STCs in each year since April 2010 by duration band[4]

Duration

Establishment Type

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14[5]

0 - 15 minutes

Secure Children's Homes

440

460

319

232

Secure Training Centres

434

192

166

183

Total

874

652

485

415

16 - 30 minutes

Secure Children's Homes

874

955

572

474

Secure Training Centres

347

191

104

136

Total

1,221

1,146

676

610

31 - 60 minutes

Secure Children's Homes

913

954

656

540

Secure Training Centres

288

146

100

139

Total

1,201

1,100

756

679

61 - 120 minutes

Secure Children's Homes

567

537

429

381

Secure Training Centres

36

25

20

13

Total

603

562

449

394

121 - 180 minutes

Secure Children's Homes

265

172

151

119

Secure Training Centres

7

7

2

15

Total

272

179

153

134

181+ minutes

Secure Children's Homes

292

245

193

153

Secure Training Centres

0

2

0

2

Total

292

247

193

155

[1] Separation is defined as where, during the core day, including evenings and weekends, a young person is removed from his/her scheduled activity and placed away from other young people and members of staff without any meaningful interaction and is prevented from returning even where he/she may request to do so.

Separation does not include instances where:

• A young person is interacting meaningfully with a member of staff

• A young person can choose to re-join the scheduled activity

• A young person is separated as part of formally agreed rewards and sanctions (such as early bed sanction)

• Any aspects of the normal routine, such as lock down

[2] Data for 2013/14 is provisional and will be finalised in the 2013/14 Youth Justice Statistics in January 2015.

[3]YOI prisoners can be held in segregation on the following Prison / YOI Rules:

· Under Prison Rule 45 (YOI Rule 49) – Good Order or Discipline.

· Under Prison Rule 45 (YOI Rule 49) – Own protection.

· Under Prison Rule 53(4) (YOI Rule 58(4)) – Prisoner awaiting an adjudication to start may be kept apart from other prisoners pending the governor’s first inquiry.

· Under Prison Rule 55(h) (YOI Rule 60(g)) – Removal from wing/unit for a prisoner found guilty of an offence against discipline.

[4] These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and can be subject to change over time.

[5] Data for 2013/14 is provisional and will be finalised in the 2013/14 Youth Justice Statistics in January 2015.

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