To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) in England 2019-20 annual report, published by Independent Monitoring Boards in June 2021, what recent estimate he has made of the number of young people held in segregation for more than a week while awaiting transfer to a secure healthcare setting.
On average 10 children transfer to secure hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983 Part III from the youth secure estate each year. Of these, most transfer in a timely way, however there are a small number of cases where the child either has a complicated presentation that requires an extended assessment period, or where the child does not fit the criteria for admission and/or detention.
Over the last few years, a small group of children have been identified as extremely high harm and high risk. To better understand these children and their needs, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) commissioned a clinical review of these cases to support future policy and commissioning. NHSE&I has received the final report, and we will be reviewing the evidence and recommendation together with our partners to evaluate next steps.
A revised procedure for the transfer or remission of children under the Mental Health Act 1983 Part III in youth custody will be published in Summer 2021.
More widely, the Youth Custody Service is committed to minimising the use of separation in YOIs and is creating a new system of separation through the development of the new framework. Children should only be separated as a response to risk, for only as long as it is necessary to manage that risk, and with decisions to separate children subject to regular review and oversight. Planning for the child’s reintegration should start from the point at which separation is considered, as part of our wider approach to integrated care.
The YCS internally captures and records incidents of separation in YOIs and we expect to begin publishing suitable separation data to effectively inform practice, on a quarterly basis from 2022/23.