News round up: Number of prison babies soars

Number of prison babies soars

The number of children born behind bars has almost doubled since Labour came to power, with new figures showing women prisoners currently giving birth at nearly four a week.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that 283 children were born in prisons in England and Wales between April 2005 and July this year, an average of 1.7 a week. But 49 babies were born between April and the beginning of July this year alone, almost four a week, meaning the 2008 total could reach nearly 200 if births continue at the same rate, more than double the 64 prison births recorded in 1995-96 before Labour came to power.

Read more on this story in The Independent

Jack Straw puts victims first and says punishment is main point of prison

Jack Straw, the justice secretary, is to signal a more punitive approach to prisons today by attacking the “criminal justice lobby” for putting the needs of offenders before those of victims.

In a speech on prison policy to the Royal Society of Arts, he is to say it is time to reclaim the “unfashionable” language of punishment and reform and make clear that the justice system is there to serve victims and the law-abiding majority first.
Read more on this story in The Guardian

British evangelicals in child abuse trial

The orphanage, a large brick house in Tirana’s old quarter, promised shelter to the city’s abandoned street children, who came barefoot and clutching siblings in search of a place to rebuild their lives.

For five years, dozens of boy and girls passed through the gates of 32 Dervish Hekali Street, run by British missionaries in Albania’s capital.

But what should have been a sanctuary for vulnerable boys and girls became the site of one of eastern Europe’s most shocking child sex abuse scandals. Three evangelical Britons, including the director of the orphanage, David Brown, have been accused of abusing children in their care.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Education system must tackle disadvantage, says Lammy

There are still too many inequalities in the education system which prevent children from disadvantaged backgrounds from applying to study for a degree, according to the universities minister, David Lammy.

Government, universities and schools need to increase efforts to tackle these inequalities, he will say in a speech today.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Single parents face seven-year wait for child support

Thousands of single mothers awaiting maintenance payments from absent fathers may have to hold on until 2015 before the successor to the Child Support Agency processes their cases.

Janet Paraskeva, chairwoman of the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, told The Times that it would be seven years before all 1.2 million cases being managed by the CSA were transferred to the new system and the agency was finally wound up.
Read more on this story in The Times

MPs must rule on assisted suicide

Any reform of the law on assisting suicide is a matter for Parliament, not prosecutors, the Director of Public Prosecutions has told The Times.

Sir Ken Macdonald, QC, said that it would “undermine the rule of law” if he were to say that those who helped loved ones to die could escape prosecution.
Read more on this story in The Times

Older women overtake men in job market

More older women have jobs than ever before, meaning they now outstrip working men of a corresponding age, according to official figures.

Men aged 50 and over suffered badly in the previous two recessions, in the early 1980s and early 1990s. Many older workers in manufacturing industries were forced into early retirement or moved onto incapacity benefit.

Read more on this story in The Financial Times


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