Jails ‘ignore needs of young inmates’

    Constructive activity and intervention programmes for young
    adult prisoners are “woefully inadequate”, say MPs.

    Prisoners aged 18-21 have been “overlooked” in the reform of the
    prison system, the report by the home affairs select committee
    states.

    The MPs have urged the government to match the development of
    rehabilitation strategies for juveniles with an “equivalent” range
    of interventions for young adults.

    The report, published last week, also raises concerns about the
    poor treatment of prisoners with mental health problems and the
    rise in the number of women prisoners and those from ethnic
    minorities.

    It highlights that jails are failing to divert mentally ill
    prisoners into the correct services and criticises delays in
    assessing mental health needs.

    The committee also slammed the “severe problems” caused by
    overcrowding in prisons, along with the frequent transfers of
    prisoners between jails.

    The failure of prisons to meet the target of providing an
    average of 24 hours of purposeful activities for each prisoner each
    week also comes under fire.

    The report calls for a “radical transformation” of the prison
    regime to ensure inmates have greater access to work and
    education.

    Committee chair John Denham said: “Education, work, training and
    day release are not soft options. This is about recognising what
    works, about fostering a work ethic and giving prisoners
    responsibility for their own future when they are released.”

     

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