Thursday 10 April 2003

By David Callaghan, Nicola Barry and Alex

Rise in total of child inmates blamed on Bulger

A new report from crime reduction charity Nacro shows that there
has been a sharp rise in the number of teenagers being held in
custody. The effect of the James Bulger case had been to persuade
politicians to pass draconian laws, it says.

The number of under-15s placed in custody had leapt eight-fold
from 100 to 800 in the last 10 years, the report says, which
threatens to put the government in breach of United Nations

Juveniles locked up in England and Wales now totalled 7,600
rising from 4,000 in 1992. Only Germany among western European
countries has more under-18s in custody, according to the report ‘A
Failure of Justice – Reducing Child Imprisonment’.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 10 April page 16

Fad dieters put unborn children at risk

A leading expert in epidemiology has warned that mothers who
diet when they are pregnant could put their children at risk of
diabetes later in life.

Professor David Barker, head of the medical research council’s
epidemiology unit at Southampton University, also warned that
children who eat fatty foods could store up health problems for
themselves when they are older.

Barker said heart diseases could begin for the child in the
womb, if the mother has a low carbohydrate diet. A full diet could
prevent heart attack risks, stroke or diabetes for the child later
in life.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 10 April page 12

Pensioner prisoners are ‘left to vegetate’

Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers has found older prisoners
“vegetating” at the only prison unit for over 55s in the

She said conditions in the E-wing at Kingston prison in
Portsmouth, which holds 28 older male offenders, were

The Victorian prison holds 200 prisoners in small cells, with
some of the inmates having to leave their belongings in boxes
outside their room.

Owers said the cells were too small, poorly lit, with poor
ventiliation, and staff were not trained in how to deal with older

Source:- The Times Thursday 10 April page 26  

Judge urges changes to stop asylum seekers ‘playing

A high court judges wants an overhaul of court rules to prevent
asylum seekers “playing the system” to delay their deportation. Mr
Justice Munby made his comments as he considered the case of an
Algerian man who arrived in this country in the back of a

The man, Mohammed Dahmani, has tried four times to gain a
judicial review into his case, and the judge said it was the
clearest case of abuse of the system he had seen. He dismissed the
appeal and said that should be the end of the matter.

Source:- The Times Thursday 10 April page 26 

Scottish newspapers

Hotel charges for pensioners in hospital

‘Hotel’ charges imposed on pensioners for meals and
accommodation in hospital were scrapped yesterday by Gordon
Brown. Older patients have been losing almost £30 from their
weekly pensions for stays in hospital of more than six weeks.

Liz Duncan, of Help the Aged in Scotland, while welcoming the
reform, said it was “long overdue”. She went on to
criticise the winter fuel payment increase of less than

“It appears the government’s approach to financial
security for pensioners is to cross its fingers,” she

Source: The Herald Thursday 10 April (Budget
supplement) page 2

War against child poverty

Gordon Brown yesterday announced he had commissioned a report
into how the government can best meet its target of halving child
poverty by 2010.

Danny Phillips, manager of the Child Poverty Action Group in
Scotland, welcomed the call for a report. But, he warned that
without further increases in cash support for children, the
government will miss its first milestone target to reduce child
poverty by a quarter over the next two years.

The charity called for an increase in child tax credit of at
least £3 per week per child.

Source: The Herald Thursday 10 April (Budget
supplement) page 3

Welsh newspapers

60,000 missed appointments

Hospital patients are failing to turn up for appointments and
causing massive wastage in the NHS.

The missed appointments have led to a new drive by the
University Hospital of Wales and Llandough Hospital in Cardiff to
try new methods of encouraging patients to keep appointments.

The hospitals will be using a telephone booking scheme that will
allow patients – within reason – to negotiate the best time for
their appointment. Currently around one in eight appointments are
missed, and patient watchdogs have welcomed the new system.

Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday 9 April page 10

Too poor to be healthy

A half-page feature in the run-up to the Welsh assembly
elections next month that looks at the plight of the many people in
Wales who are currently suffering the effects of poverty and

The story focuses on the links between poverty and ill health,
and there are contributions from experts in the field on how best
to tackle the problem.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 10 April page 10

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