More young offenders feeling safe in custody, inspectors find

A report from the chief inspector of prisons on conditions in youth custody out today has found an increase in how safe under 18s say they feel.

Anne Owers’ report, which summarises inspections carried out at YOIs since 2004, states the amount of girls saying they felt unsafe had halved from 63 per cent to 30 per cent across the estate.

Boys reported feeling “significantly less” victimised by both staff and other detainees, down from 38 to 32 six per cent from the last overview in 2002-4.

Owers found that while safety had improved, there were still big variations in the number of young people who felt safe across different sized institutions – varying from between 6 per cent and 42 per cent.

This showed “the difficulty in ensuring this for all young people in large, crowded institutions,” she said.

YOIs needed to increase the amount of physical exercise young people were allowed to do to help “reduce tensions”, she added.

Three quarters of boys and half of girls said they were not allowed out to exercise, inspectors reported.

And nearly half of all boys said were not allowed daily showers compared to 91 per cent of girls.

Chair of the YJB Rod Morgan said the record numbers in custody was placing “severe strains” on the board’s capacity to meet young people’s needs.


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