A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

Blunkett uses TV to pillory asylum rejects

People being deported from Britain are to be filmed by
television cameras in a bid to convince the public that the asylum
system is working.

The home secretary has overcome internal home office opposition
to push ahead with plans to tip off broadcasting crews so they can
film scenes of asylum seekers boarding planes.

Blunkett hopes the move will deter illegal immigrants, who
believe they can enter the country with impunity because few people
are deported.

Currently 1,000 asylum seekers a month are removed even though
thousands of asylum claims are rejected.

Source:- The Times Friday 24 May page 1

Young criminals let out early to ease jail

Hundreds of young offenders are to be released from jail early
in a bid to ease overcrowding in prison, the government

As the prison population hit a record 71,000, ministers were on
the verge of authorising the use of police cells to hold

Up to 1,500 young people aged between 12 and 17 will be eligible
for release from young offenders institutions in a move portrayed
as a “toughening” of punishment because those freed will be

The record number of prisoners is despite efforts by David
Blunkett and lord chief justice lord Wolf to “talk down” the
problem by encouraging magistrates and judges’ to use non
custodial sentences.

Source:- The Times Friday 24 May page 2

Mentally ill are found screaming in unsafe

A women’s jail has been condemned an establishment in
crisis, as deeply disturbed women in the healthcare centre
constantly “cry, scream and shout” for attention.

One very disturbed 17-year-old girl spent almost 60 days in
segregated cells, according to a report published today by chief
inspector of prisons Anne Owers.

Four women held in a special wing at Eastwood Park prison in
Gloucestershire, could only mix in the corridor outside their cells
where they also had to eat their meals.

“In our view this amounted to sensory deprivation,” Owers

The report is published as the overall prison population reached
a record level of more than 71,000. Niall Clifford, operational
manager of women’s jails, warned they would run out of places
for women by July.

Source:- The Times Thursday 24 May page 12

Legalise cannabis, says former Lord Chief

Cannabis should be legalised, according to a former lord chief
justice and one of the most distinguished judges in England and

Lord Bingham of Cornhill says the cannabis laws are “stupid” in
the current edition of The Spectator.

In the interview he supports the conclusions of a report by
Viscoutess Runciman two years ago which called for widespread

When asked if he would legalise cannabis, Bingham said:
“Absolutely. It is stupid having a law which is not doing what it
is there for.”

Source:- The Times Friday 24 May page 12

Police bail for young offenders

Young offenders are routinely released on bail rather than being
charged, according to a report yesterday.

Offenders who are arrested are often given police bail and told
to return at a later date. One reason is to give the police time to
make further forensic or other inquiries, do drug tests or ID
parades, but in half the cases, the report found no reason for the

The practice is a significant factor in the continuing failure
to meet targets in bringing persistent young offenders to trial,
the report by a group of criminal justice inspectorate says.

Source:- The Times Friday 24 May page 12

Thousands more pupils are expelled

The number of children expelled from school has risen for the
first time since Labour came to power.

There was a 10 per cent rise in expulsions of older pupils and
permanent exclusions in primary schools went up by nearly a

The figures means it is likely to miss its target of reducing
them by a third by September.

Head teachers blamed the rise on a higher incidence of violence
and disruption.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 24 May page 6

Baby found dead ‘after heroin addict fed her

A baby died after the social worker responsible for her case
went on sick leave and did not transfer the case, despite warnings
from both grandmothers about the child’s welfare, an inquest
heard yesterday.

The 13-month-old child, Sophie Casey, choked on her own vomit
after her mother’s boyfriend Peter Casey, a one armed heroin
addict, fed her a mixture of cheesecake, ice cream, cereal and milk
for breakfast.

Gateshead county court heard how vital information about her
case was deleted from reports before an inquiry into her death.

Sophie’s grandparents allegedly they told social workers
she was unwashed, underfed and had a fractured skull. Social
services were also contacted by teachers, a health visitor, a
hospital nurse and neighours about her condition.

The social worker assigned to her case, David Potts took sick
leave with a sore right eye a month before Sophie’s death. He
was sacked from his post after she died.

The inquest heard how Peter Casey was well known to South
Tyneside council and police because of his lengthy criminal record
and allegations of child abuse.

The coroner Terence Carney criticised social workers after
discovering that vital information had been deleted from reports
during the inquiry into the death.

The hearing continues.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 24 May page 8

Decision to close Sangatte attacked

A Tory MP criticised a decision by the French government to
close the Sangatte refugee centre and implored the government not
to take more illegal immigrants.

The deal could mean more than 1,000 refugees coming to

Peter Luff, Mid Worcestershire, said: “Any deal that involves
the current residents of Sangatte coming to the United Kingdom is
likely to be seen as a further softening of UK Immigration policy
and lead to even more asylum applications.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 24 May page 16

Greater powers urged for school truancy

Truancy teams should be given greater powers to take errant
children back to school, the government was told yesterday.

Truancy checks showed that many children were with a parent who
had no valid excuse as to why their child was not at school,
according to Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley.

“But the truancy teams have no powers to return that child to
school if they are in the company of a parent,” she said.

But education secretary Estelle Morris said those schools that
had successfully tackled truancy had worked with parents.

In the past month there had been truancy sweeps in more than 230

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 24 May page 16

Labour promises to tackle poverty

Older people who save throughout their lives will be helped by
new measures designed to tackle pensioner poverty.

The government says that up to half of all pensioners will
benefit from the State Pension Credit Bill, with five million
gaining an average of £400 a year.

It will guarantee a minimum level of income to those over 60 and
introduce a savings credit, which will, from age 65, provide an
additional income for pensioners who have low or modest incomes in
addition to the basic state pension.

Work and pensions secretary Alistair Darling said the
legislation, which cleared the Commons last night will end “a
fundamental unfairness in the social security system” under which
pensioners had been unfairly penalised for saving.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 24 May page 16

Scottish newspapers

Housing transfer plan

The plans for delivering the £4 billion Glasgow housing
stock transfer have been criticised as “unworkable” by housing
association leaders yesterday.

A consultation document issued by the new landlord taking over
the city’s 82,000 council houses would, if carried out in
full, effectively renege on the pledge to empower tenants.

Instead, Glasgow Housing Association appeared to be giving local
housing groups “responsibility without power” – assigning
them time consuming and onerous tasks, such as collecting debts,
while keeping control over spending and budgets, they said.

They added that so much would be needed to overcome the
GHA’s mindset, that the scheduled date for transfer –
November 28 – now looked “increasingly ambitious”.

The criticism emerged after a meeting of the Glasgow and West of
Scotland Housing Association Forum, which includes 30 local housing
associations due to carry out the day-to-day management of 24,000
houses on behalf of GHA.

Source:- The Herald Friday 24 May

Welsh newspapers

The Final Insult

A man who served 11 years in prison for a murder he did not
commit has been charged £37,000 for ‘living expenses’.

The home office has presented Michael O’Brien with a bill for
board and lodging, although he has also been offered £650,000
in compensation for his wrongful conviction.

O’Brien’s father and baby daughter died during the years he
spent in prison, and he says that the offer is insulting, and that
the attempt to claim living expenses from him has added to the

A spokesperson for the home office said that: “The saved living
expenses deducted in Mr O’Brien’s compensation is part of the
assessment formula. If he refuses the assessment it will be looked
at again although the compensation will not necessarily change as a

A spokeswoman for the Howard League for Penal Reform questioned
whether the home office `saved living expenses` deduction was

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 23 May page 1 and

Drug related deaths on the rise in Wales

The number of drug-related deaths in Wales has risen
significantly over the last eight years, new figures from the Welsh
assembly have revealed.

The number of deaths related to misuse of heroin and cocaine
have almost trebled in the last three years, and over the
eight-year period there were almost 1,100 drug- related poisoning

Liberal democrat assembly member Peter Black said that the
figures highlighted the need for targeted investment in drug
treatment across Wales as well as a new approach to the way addicts
are dealt with.

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 23 May page 19



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