Debate on charities being involved in running YOIs

Should charities become more involved in running young
offender institutions if it was felt they could improve

Here are some of the comments we received:-

“Charities should be more involved with the running of
young offenders units. Children locked-up in jails and asylum units
should be considered as vulnerable and in need of care and
protection. They should be monitored, individually, by the child
protection charities.”


“I thought both the article and Bob Holman’s opinion piece
raised serious issues that are much broader than involvement in the
prison sector.

I have been saying, for a long time, that this government, from
the best of intentions, is imperilling the third sector (a term
that is well understood internationally and is now more accurate
than referring to the voluntary sector or charities) in this

My background is largely in advice services and, in this area,
government has decided, rightly, that advice is an important right
for citizens.  In fact, it is so important that government are the
best people to decide how it should be provided.  The consequence
of this is twofold:

Firstly, the government decides what and where the needs are and
funding follows that. Secondly, there is pressure on 3rd sector
agencies to move to providing services as well as advice and
information; an attractive option to many agencies who can see the
potential for both better client experiences and more certain

The problem, of course, is also twofold:

The loss of freedom and independence of a dependant, regulated
service deliverer. The impression, at the least, of clients who see
just another government service.

Crudely, it is very hard to be a part of the solution if you are
a part of the problem.”

Gareth Morgan
Managing Director
Ferret Information Systems Ltd.

“As the chair of the charity National Society for Children
and Family Contact, I would have to say this on the subject: 100
children per day lose contact with their paternal side of the
family is an established statistic based on the fact that 55,000
contact orders were made in 2001 affecting an estimated 80,000

50% of those orders were broken (according to the Lord
Chancellor’s Department) with the result being that since 1997 well
over 300,000 youngsters have been denied the right to family life
and the role models they so richly deserve, role models in the form
of some one million grandparents left isolated and cut off from the
freedom to family life. So many millions died for in the last war
and to be commemorated across the nation on 10th July 05. Surely
all will be for nothing if this fundamental right to family life as
contained in the Human Rights Act, Article 6 & 8 is not
respected and addressed by the powers that be for the benefit of
society as a whole.

Suffice to say we at the registered charity NSCFC feel strongly
that this should be a major political issue in relation to the
wellbeing of both children and the very fabric of our society,
remembering as we always must and should that “today’s child is
tomorrows parent”.
May it prove to be that all those affected by this inhumanity to
man will deem this subject worthy of support and action that
together we can all work for the betterment of our children in
their formative years, in the sincere belief that by doing so they
might escape the ever-growing pitfalls of teenage pregnancy and
antisocial behaviour akin to dysfunctional family life, as created
in many respects by an inactive government who funds the
destruction of the nuclear family as apposed to addressing the real
issues in preservation of the very fabric of society.

To address the effect and not the cause of anti-social behaviour
as suggested in the home secretary’s speech to the police
federation of late is to deny the underlying factor that children
need the love, guidance, support and protection of all the family
after separation or divorce unless there is good lawful reason for
it not to be so. 

Hence in answer to the question should charities become more
involved in helping the youngsters of today who end up in young
offender institutions? Of course we should but this can only be
done if we are invited to do so by the government and as such
consulted on the real cause behind the break down in law and order.
Ministers must recognise and respect, that many of us who are in
the front line working tirelessly to minimize the increase in
anti-social behaviour have a much greater understanding as to its
cause, only by working with us can the powers that be begin to
address this problem to the benefit of all concerned.”
Michael Ellis




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