The government is considering privatising young offenders’
institutions that hold children aged under 18.
Home Office minister Paul Goggins told a Labour conference
fringe meeting, organised by Community Care and the Children
Society, that the government had plans to “market test”
establishments that only hold juveniles.
This would mean that managing juvenile-only establishments would
be put out for tender to both the public and private sector. But as
Colin Moses, chair of the prison officer’s association, said
“the private sector always wins”, as seen by the
expansion of secure training centres ahead of local authority
secure children’s homes.
Goggins did not deny the suggestion and said “there are
various options that we are considering. No decisions have yet been
Enver Solomon, senior policy officer at the prison reform trust,
said the government should not be thinking about market testing the
Meanwhile, Goggins has refused to hold a public inquiry into the
death of Joseph Scholes despite recommendations from his family,
voluntary organisations, the coroner and almost 80 MPs that one
should be held.
In a statement to parliament, Goggins said the government had
instead decided to refer the circumstances behind Joseph’s
case to the Sentencing Guidelines Council to inform guidelines on
sentencing for robbery.
The minister has also appointed a former assistant chief
inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate to examine the
operational issues raised by the case and has asked the Youth
Justice Board to take full account of the points made by the
coroner on the adequacy of custodial provision for vulnerable young