Institutions hold on to young offenders

The National Association of Probation Officers
has claimed that people in closed young offenders institutions are
being prevented from moving to open regimes by a Home Office
“obsession” with targets for its accredited programmes.

The association claims that closed
institutions are often reluctant to allow young people to move on,
because they must reach targets on the numbers completing
accredited programmes – rehabilitation or correctional programmes
carried out by YOIs and accredited by the Home Office. This in turn
affects the following year’s budget.

“There appears to be a practice of holding on
to offenders who are likely to complete, rather than transferring
them through to open conditions,” said Napo assistant general
secretary Harry Fletcher. “It is this type of obsession with
targeted management that leads to young people being discriminated

Home Office figures show that 4,397 of the
4,991 places now available to young offenders in closed
institutions are occupied, while just 339 of 476 places in open
regimes are filled.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Each case is
looked at on an individual basis. If someone who has been assessed
as suitable for open conditions is part way through an accredited
programme, then the prison will need to look carefully at whether
or not it is in the best interests of that young offender to be
moved before completion or on completion. It may not always be the
case that an immediate move to open conditions is the preferred

The spokeswoman added that a particular course
may need to be completed before a move could take place.

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