Prison officers working with young offenders lack professional support, Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, said last night.
She said the majority of staff did not get clinical supervision as the Prison Service believed it was “cheaper” to rely on prison officers “who were not properly trained and supported”.
Speaking at an event hosted by the charity Voice, Owers also admitted that she had never visited a local authority secure children’s home because it was not within her inspection remit.
She criticised the “fractured” inspection regime across Laschs, secure training centres and young offender institutions and said there was a need for a “coherent” inspectorate.
Owers was speaking at the AGM of Voice where the charity re-branded from its former name of Voice for the Child in Care to reflect the growing number of settings in which it helps young people, including the juvenile estate.
The 30-year-old charity, which provides advocacy services for 3,500 children a year, decided to change its name because many young people it works with, including those in custody and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, do not see themselves as in care.
To read Voice’s chief executive John Kemmis views, click here