Prison service to improve transport

New contracts for escorting juvenile offenders to and from court
are coming into force next month, heralding an end to the poor
conditions young people are forced to endure on these

The Prison Service is re-negotiating its contracts with private
escort companies and the Youth Justice Board has stipulated that
juveniles should no longer be transported alongside adult

The contracts will specify that there should be comfort breaks
every 2.5 hours – with strict penalties for non-compliance – and
that escort staff will be trained to deal with juvenile

Children will be transported in multi-purpose vehicles such as
people carriers – although existing vans with cells will be used in
some circumstances.

The current arrangements have long been deplored by penal reformers
and chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers has repeatedly raised the
plight of children forced to urinate in carrier bags during long

Research for Community Care finds that half of professionals
working in the youth justice system have worked with young
offenders who have been subjected to uncomfortable journeys, and 15
per cent have worked with offenders who have experienced abuse from
escort staff. Almost three in 10 have worked with clients who have
suffered poor toilet facilities while being transported.

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