Youth Custody

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 9 February 2016.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect of decommissioning sites where children could be detained on (a) the mix of children in custody, (b) the implementation of the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint system and (c) staff numbers.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) is responsible for commissioning and placing all young people under-18 in a suitable secure establishment.

Following the welcome and continued reduction in the number of young people in custody, the YJB has been able to reduce the number of commissioned places across the secure estate. However, as the number has reduced so those who remain tend to be those who have been arrested for the most violent crimes and who pose the greatest difficulties for those who care for them.

Although decommissioning will affect the number of places available in the secure estate, young people are placed in establishments that can most effectively manage their individual needs and risks. Factors such as age, suitability of regime, closeness to home, risk of self-harm or to others, and other risk factors are all been taken into account when placing a young person in custody.

Restraint should only be used against young people as a last resort where it is absolutely necessary to do so, when young people are putting their own safety and the safety of others at risk, and where no other form of intervention is possible or appropriate. We are committed to closely monitoring the independently assessed Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint system, including through an ongoing analysis of its effectiveness.

Information on the effects of decommissioning on staff numbers within the youth secure estate is not available centrally and can only be collected at disproportionate costs.

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