A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Divert 20,000 from jails, says chief

Up to 20,000 prisoners should not be held in jails in England
and Wales, according to Sir David Ramsbotham.

The chief inspector of prisons said the current jail population
of 66,000 could be cut to 46,000 if asylum seekers, people with
mental health problems, immigration detainees and some short
sentence and remand prisoners were removed. He said alternatives to
jail should be discussed, such as weekend jail and community

Ramsbotham also suggested day jail sentence where offenders must
turn up every day to a centre for probation officers. This solution
would be cheaper than prison.

The most realistic type of non-custodial sentence would be some
form of community service, where the offender could use their
skills to pay back the community.

Ramsbotham retires from his position today.

Source:- The Times Friday 27 July page 2

Cost of ‘problem’ children

Children who are diagnosed with “conduct disorder” at the age of
10 will cost the state £70,000 by the time they reach 28,
according to a study.

Researchers from Kings College, London, found this money used in
terms of crime, benefits, extra education services and care.

The government was urged to tackle social exclusion of children
at an early age, by the study in the British Medical Journal, in a
bid to save millions of pounds later in life through court
appearance costs, unemployment and relationship breakdown.

Source:- The Times Friday 27 July page 4

Child use of drink, drugs and tobacco on

Government initiatives to prevent underage drinking and drug
taking are failing, as more children are turning to drugs including
alcohol and tobacco, a department of health report found.

A survey of 7,000 pupils in 225 schools in England found recent
decreases in under age drinking were being reversed.

Nine per cent of teenagers surveyed last year had used drugs in
the past month, a rise of two per cent from 1998. The use of drugs
increased with age and three per cent of 11 year olds taking drugs
in the past year, compared with 29 per cent of those aged 15.
Cannabis was the most popular drug.

The proportion of teenagers who described themselves as regular
smokers rose from 9 to 10 per cent in the year to 2000. The habit
was more prevalent in teenage girls with 12 per cent smoking at
least one cigarette a week.

The report also pointed to a rise in drinking alcohol. Almost a
quarter of the pupils said they had had an alcoholic drink in the
past week, compared with 21 per cent in 1996.

The report, which will be published in full in the autumn, said
that British teenagers are the heaviest smokers, drinkers and drug
takers in Europe.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 27 July page 12

Mother captures park sex offender on video

A mother used a video tape of a man, who made an obscene
suggestion to her daughter, to help him get jailed for a sex

Sue O’Donaghue telephoned the police when her daughter
Colleen (11) said she and a friend had been approached by a man in
a park. She then took the video camera to the park in West Sussex,
where the man was sitting near other children.

The tape was shown to Lewes crown court, where Anthony Willis
denied indecency.

He was found guilty and jailed for nine months. The jury were
told how Willis said he would give the girls £50 if they would
spank him.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 27 July page 14

Doubt over childminder

Doubt has arisen over the conviction of a childminder, who was
jailed for life for shaking a six-month-old baby to death, it
emerged yesterday.

Yesterday three appeal court judges were told new medical
evidence threw doubt on Helen Stacey’s guilt and put her
“outside the bracket of possibility” for having caused the fatal

Stacey, who had convictions for soliciting and shoplifting, was
found guilty of murdering Joseph Mackin three years ago.

Judgement was reserved until Tuesday.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 27 July page 9

Callers deluge Channel 4 over paedophilia

Channel 4 defended its decision to screen the latest edition of
current affairs spoof Brass Eye, in the barrage of complaints from
viewers who objected to the programme’s treatment of

Satirist Chris Morris managed to dupe celebrities into endorsing
fabricated anti-paedophilia campaigns for the programme.

Channel 4’s viewers comment line was deluged with calls
after the broadcast last night, and many complained they
couldn’t get through due to the phone lines being

A spokesperson said: “Brass Eye takes as its central subject
paedophilia, challenges what Morris perceives as the hysterical way
the media treats the issue, and tackles inconsistencies in our
attitudes to children and sex.”

Source:- The Guardian Friday 27 July page 5

Scottish newspapers

Private care crisis stalled

Following a meeting yesterday between the Convention of Scottish
Local Authorities and Scottish Care, private home owners have
agreed to suspend their action on the dispute over fees until 15

Through additional funds given by the Scottish executive, Cosla
is offering approximately £10 per resident per week while
Scottish care is seeking £50 per resident per week.

Source:- The Herald Friday 27 July page 10

Mother of children in abandoned sex abuse trial
threatens private action

In an exclusive interview with The Scotsman the mother
of the 8-year-old boy and 11-year-old girl, alleged victims in the
sex abuse trial abandoned at Edinburgh high court this week, has
indicated she is to sue the six alleged culprits.

The trial was abandoned after 14-days following a medical report
that the boy was unfit to continue. The decision resulted in a
public outcry from all sides with child care workers demanding that
the court procedures in interviewing young children be

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 27 July page 1

Boy reported to panel after death of woman

A 13-year-old boy has been reported to the children’s
panel in connection with an alleged stone-throwing incident in

A spokesperson for Tayside Police said the boy had been reported
following inquiries into events at Ashgrove Court Sheltered Housing
complex in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, last Sunday when 91-year-old
resident Margaret Farquhar died.

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 27 July page 4






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