The use of restraint on child prisoners remains high and is not always properly monitored, according to the chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers.
Ower’s annual report, published this week, said a quarter of all boys had reported being physically restrained at some point. In addition, more than a third of young adults said they had felt unsafe in their current establishment and just over a quarter said that they had been victimised by another prisoner or group of prisoners.
Rates of self-harm among young women was found to be “appallingly high” in line with previous years.
Children’s vulnerabilities not accounted for
Owers said in the report that “security and disciplinary measures did not take sufficient account of the specific vulnerabilities of children”.
The report also found that funding for social workers based at YOIs remained on a short-term basis and subject to annual renegotiation, a situation Owers labelled as “unacceptable”.
Education and training succesful
But the quality of education and training in the surveyed establishments was assessed as being generally successful in helping young people gain skills and qualifications in literacy and numeracy.
Regarding adult prisons, the report found that the system was still under “sustained and chronic pressure” from the high prison population. Owers reiterated her opposition to “titan” prisons and said that inspections over the past year had revealed that large prisons were less safe and more likely to rely on the use of force to control inmates.