The government is considering privatising young offender
institutions for children aged under 18.
Home Office minister Paul Goggins told a Labour conference fringe
meeting, organised by Community Care and the Children’s
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 Officers’ Association, said, “the
private sector always wins”, as seen by the expansion of secure
training centres ahead of local authority secure children’s
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,
was highly critical of the proposal.
Meanwhile, Goggins has refused to hold a public inquiry into the
death of Joseph Scholes in Stoke Heath YOI 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
decided to refer 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 offenders.