Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, responding to today’s report published by the Chief Inspector of Prisons which highlights a decline in safety and standards in youth detention centres, said:
“This is a damning description of the youth detention system, which highlights the need for very urgent action from the Ministry of Justice.
“It is particularly shocking that there is not a single detention establishment in England safe to hold children and young people. The report reinforces issues I have raised with ministers before surrounding the excessive amount of time children are being locked up for, without proper exercise, education or training, and that teachers and classrooms in the estate are not being properly used. This is not the way to break cycles of criminal and violent behaviour.
“The Youth Custody Service must now show the strong leadership required, and be given the support it needs, to turn around this unacceptable situation. There needs to be a new standard of well-being for children across all detention centres, something I will be focussing on in the months ahead. I will also be writing to the Governors of each of these establishments asking them to set out urgently their plans for dealing with a systemic failure to keep children safe.”