The chief inspector of prisons warned this week of the dangers facing 18- to 21-year-old male prisoners if the option to send them to young offender institutions is removed.
Anne Owers said proposals in the Offender Management Bill, under which offenders could be transferred to adult prisons at 18, must not be used to automatically place this group of offenders in adult jails.
In a report on young male prisoners, Owers insisted that adult prisons did not provide sufficient standards of safety and decency for this group of offenders.
While the report found that the group did best in specific young adult YOIs, Owers said dedicated and separate units in adult jails were the next best option and would allow more prisons in the country to accommodate young adults.
She told Community Care that in YOIs where juveniles were also accommodated, “resources get pulled away from young adults to the juveniles because of [the establishment’s] contract requirements with the Youth Justice Board”.
However, she added that some YOIs had “tried very hard and managed to overcome that”.