A letter published today in The Daily Telegraph criticises government plans to build the largest children's prison in Europe, describing it as 'bad for children, bad for justice and bad for the taxpayer'. The Centre's director, Richard Garside, is among the many signatories which also include Liberty, the NSPCC, Howard League, Inquest and others. The letter highlights the history of abuse and neglect experienced by children in the criminal justice system and calls for the money to be invested elsewhere.
A Ministry of Justice press release in September 2014, entitled 'Secure College development drives local jobs and growth in Leicestershire', said the development would 'create 32 apprenticeships, 30 new jobs and 24 work placements for local schoolchildren, giving a great financial boost to the region'. Andrew Selous MP was also quoted in the release;
'The development of the Secure College will give a massive boost to the local economy in Leicestershire. Thousands of pounds will be spent with small businesses ranging from carpentry to brick-work to landscaping, providing valuable jobs and training for apprentices. This innovative approach will not only transform the landscape of youth custody, but will also give local businesses the opportunity to expand and be part of an important and exciting new project.'
The Prison Abolition 2014 website has an information page on the 'prison industrial complex', describing it as the 'overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems.' You can also check out the recent issue of Criminal Justice Matters magazine, which focuses on the marketisation of criminal justice and we are running the Justice Matters project, a three year initiative to downsize criminal justice and identify radical alternatives.
This was followed up in a further news item on our website on 22 October 2014: 'A letter to Andrew Selous: Richard Garside responds to plans for the ‘secure colleges’ for young people'.