Tory MP vows to scupper children’s homes proposal for young offenders

A Conservative MP this week vowed to block a Home Office proposal to place young offenders in open children’s homes.

Speaking in parliament, David Davies called the proposal contained in the Offender Management Bill a “gross injustice” and argued for longer prison sentences instead.

During the Bill’s second reading, he raised concerns that children’s home staff were unable to stop young people from “walking out” and committing further crimes.

Davies said he would attempt to ensure the proposal, in clause 25 of the bill, would not be included when it went to its third reading.

Prisons minister Gerry Sutcliffe  said that children’s homes would be used for young offenders who were seeking employment or training, and argued that it could be a “better option” than a custodial sentence. He added that young people would be “properly risk-assessed”.

Labour MP Anne Snelgrove, asked Davies how his views “squared” with Tory leader David Cameron’s “hug a hoodie” approach. Davies replied: “The last time I hugged a hoodie was when I put my arms around one… holding him until an officer came and put cuffs on him. That is the only time that they should receive a hug of any sort.”

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd argued that while the bill was “thoroughly bad” he supported the proposal, stating: “One of the faults of the system is that we fail to rehabilitate people who serve custodial sentences. If the provision enables young people to be allowed training so they can re-enter the mainstream when they come out, that is a good thing, preventing them from becoming recidivists.”

The Bill’s main proposals
● Open up the the probation service to competition from private and voluntary sector providers.
● Place young offenders on detention and training orders in open children’s homes for the custodial part of their sentence.

Further information
Offender Management Bill

Contact the author
 Maria Ahmed

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