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Chief Inspector of Prisons says Children in Youth Custody are being let down

The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Charlie Taylor claims poor provision across all settings is letting down children in the youth custody system

The claim comes in Taylors annual report on prisons in England and Wales where he notes that whilst the number of children in custody fell to historical lows during the pandemic and had not increased meaningfully during 2021–22, leaders and managers at all sites faced major challenges in recovering from the impact of COVID-19 and reintroducing education, offending behaviour programmes and resettlement provision.

The report draws on findings from a scrutiny visit (SV) to Parc young offender institution (YOI), full inspections of Cookham Wood and Wetherby and Keppel YOIs holding children aged 15 to 18, and three inspections of two secure training centres (Rainsbrook and Oakhill) holding children aged 12 to 18, with two further monitoring visits to Oakhill.

The most effective progress since previous inspections had been made at Parc, however, in contrast, progress at other sites was much slower.

Conditions for children in secure training centres (STCs) had deteriorated, leading to the issue of Urgent Notifications at Rainsbrook and Oakhill.

Concerns over high levels of violence, high turnover of staff, poor safeguarding processes and poor standard of education were cited by Taylor as issues contributing to a lack of improvement across both Rainsbrook and Oakhill STCs.

Read the full report here.