New rules will ‘allow intimate searches’

    Children in prison could still be routinely strip-searched, have
    their genitals inspected and be left in cells for long periods
    under proposed new rules, the Howard League for Penal Reform has
    warned.

    The government was forced to re-write the Prison Service Order
    (PSO) to governors after the judicial review by the Howard League
    in 2002 which ruled that the Children Act 1989 should apply to and
    protect children in prison.

    But Howard League director Frances Crook warned that there had been
    no consultation on the PSO, which is due to be enforced from
    September.

    In a letter to the government, Crook said the proposed rules
    allowed for routine strip-searching of children, which includes
    inspection of the genital area by adult staff, even though many
    children in prison have been sexually abused.

    Children can also be physically restrained using a pain-compliant
    method intended to control adults.

    A spokesperson for the Youth Justice Board said that, as well as
    the PSO, the standards for young offender institutions holding
    juveniles are governed by a more detailed service level agreement
    between the board and the Prison Service.

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