8 Dec 2006

Charity Calls For End to Custody For Children

06 December 2006

Re: Young People in Custody 2004-06 Report

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children's Society said:

"Today's report (1) is another example of why prison is no place for children. Putting children in prison cuts some of the most vulnerable children in society off from the support needed to address the problems behind their behaviour.

The report identified hundreds of children with no access to friends and family, physical exercise and education. Without meeting these essential needs, how can we expect to rehabilitate young offenders to become responsible members of society?

At no point should children fear for their safety. And despite slight improvements over the past two years, over 30% of boys and girls said they have felt unsafe in their prison. We urgently call on the Government to end the use of custody for children and ensure only safe and supportive secure accommodation is used as a measure of last resort."

Notes to Editors:

Media enquiries: Nicholas Breakspeare, The Children's Society, Tel: 020 7841 4422

1. HM Inspectorate of Prisons & Youth Justice Board. Young People in Custody
2004-2006: An analysis of children's experiences of prison.

2. Statistics of interest from Figures 21 and 45 in the report:
· 74% of girls and 63% of boys in prison say it is not easy for friends and family to visit them
· 47% of girls and 74% of boys in prison cannot go outside for exercise everyday
· 48% of girls and 52% of boys in prison are not learning a skill or trade