Centre welcomes scrapping of 'secure college'

Friday, 10 July 2015

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.'