The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies has welcomed the decision by the Ministry of Justice to scrap its plans for a so-called 'secure college' for young prisoners. The announcement was made yesterday in parliament, by prisons minister Andrew Selous.
Answering a question from Conservative MP, Suella Fenandes, Mr Selous said:
'A Secure College... would not be right to house one third of the entire youth offender population in one setting. It would also be a mistake to press ahead with such a development when resources are so tight.'
His reasoning echoes that of our Director, Richard Garside, who, in a letter to Mr Selous last October, warned that the planned capacity of the prison would 'account for one third of the entire youth custodial population'. This, he added, would make a nonsense of the government's commitment to house young prisoners close to home.
Richard had earlier added his name to a letter in the Telegraph, calling for the secure college plans to be scrapped.
Commenting on the announcement, Richard said:
'Along with others who argued against the construction of the secure college, I am delighted these ill-conceived plans have finally been consigned to the dustbin of history.
'Five years ago some 3,000 young people were in prison. Today it is around 1,000. This is a very positive development of which the government should be proud.
'There is now an opportunity for a more ambitious agenda: to encourage further reductions in the number of young people imprisoned, with smaller units, closer to home, being the default option for all young prisoners.'