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

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

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

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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