Needs of ‘lost generation’ not met, prisons inspector says

The needs of the “lost generation” of 18 to 20-year-olds in the
prison system have been highlighted in a new report from the chief
inspector of prisons, writes Clare

Following an inspection of Deerbolt young offenders’
institution in County Durham, Anne Owers has voiced concern over
the problem of insufficient investment in regimes and activities
for an important and demanding age group.

Overall Deerbolt is a decent and safe place, with relaxed
staff-prisoner relationships, Owers said: “But the shortcomings and
concerns that we raise are not matters which can be addressed by
the establishment alone.”

“Unless sufficient resources are put into the 18-20 prison
estate, prisons like Deerbolt will remain unable to provide the
educational and training facilities that are vital if these young
men are not to be discharged back into the community with as little
chance of succeeding there as they had when they went into prison,”
she added.

There were few training and education opportunities at Deerbolt,
according to the report. There were education places for only 30
per cent of prison population, and the education targets did not
meet the needs of most of the young people there, most of whom were
functionally illiterate.

The report praised the safe environment, as the prison had not
had a suicide in 11 years and operated an effective’ listener
scheme’. The home detention curfew system was well managed and
working effectively, the report added.

“The resources now available for children in prisons only serve
to highlight the impoverished regimes available for young adults,
who are most likely to reoffend, and in great need of direction and
support to change their lifestyles,” Owers concluded.




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