New children's prison 'under review'

Tuesday, 30 June, 2015

In the lead up to the general election in May 2015, plans for a new 'secure college' in Leicestershire were put on hold. Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, was questioned in parliament on 23 June about the government's intentions. He stated that the plans are 'under review' but seemed reluctant to expand on this;

Wayne David (Caerphilly) (Lab): Consistently, Labour Members, along with charities such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, have argued that the idea of a secure college for young offenders is fundamentally wrong. Will the Justice Secretary indicate whether he has yet decided to drop his plans?

Michael Gove: They are under review.

Wayne David: An interesting and pithy response, but it does not take us forward, does it? We all agree that education should play a central role in rehabilitation, but spending £85 million on a new prison of this kind is not the best way to help young offenders. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has expressed misgivings about these plans, so will the Justice Secretary tell us, here and now, whether the project will be cancelled?

Michael Gove: The hon. Gentleman makes some characteristically effective points, and of course I was listening very carefully.

 In November 2014, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies was a signatory to a letter warning against the 'warehousing' of young people. In a briefing paper published in April 2015 by the Reclaim Justice Network, secure colleges were described as a 'dangerous solution to children in trouble'.