High court stalls bid for protection

An attempt to extend the protections of the Children Act 1989 to
children in prison has been delayed by the High Court to allow
social care agencies the chance to make submissions.

The Howard League for Penal Reform, which brought the case,
argued that children in prison are routinely treated in ways that
in other circumstances would trigger a child protection
investigation for abuse.

Mr Justice Crane decided that the case should be put back to
allow agencies, including the Department of Health, to contribute
their views on a matter that he said would have a “profound
effect” on their functions and resources.

Meanwhile, assault rates in young offenders institutions are
still too high, says a report from the Prison Reform Trust.

The highest assault rates, in prisons as a whole, were in male
juvenile establishments with 60.5 per cent of prisoners and staff
having been assaulted, followed by male closed young offenders
institutions at 30.2 per cent. The greatest proportion of assaults
was at Ashfield, a male juvenile prison in Bristol, which had an
assault rate of 74.1 per cent, and the second highest rate of 69
per cent was at Huntercombe, a juvenile establishment in


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