No extra cash for children in prison

Funding for social services departments will not be reviewed in
light of the High Court ruling that the Children Act 1989 applies
to children in prison.

In a written response to a parliamentary question, health minister
Jacqui Smith said the Department of Health backed last month’s
judgement by Mr Justice Munby that local authorities had a
statutory duty to care for children in prison.

“The department therefore sees no immediate need to revise existing
guidance to councils with social services responsibilities or to
review resource allocations,” she said.

However, Smith said the DoH and home secretary would “carefully
study” the effect the judgement could have on standards in young
offenders institutions.

Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Paul Burstow, who tabled the
question, was disappointed with the answer. “It shows the
government does not realise the scale of violence and suicide
occurring in young offenders institutions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Home Office minister Hilary Benn said the Prison
Service’s policy would be amended slightly because of the

“There is undoubtedly a need for more consistency in the provision
for young people across the prison estate and work is under way to
ensure that this happens,” he said in a written answer to a
parliamentary question.

He said the judgement had found it was for local authorities to
co-operate with the Prison Service in carrying out their duties.

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