I make no apology for returning to this issue. You may have gathered from previous posts that we, in the UK, have a serious problem with prisons at the moment. Much has been made of the overcrowding issue. However, as always, the media fail to highlight important issues in the small print.
Page 40-41 of the official report on the state of UK prisons, published today, inform us that there are 2,643 children under the age of 18 in our prisons and young offenders centres. As if that isn’t bad enough, on page 41 the report continues to report that over the past five years there has been concerns raised about the high level of use of force used in these establishments against these children. Despite that, it continues, 27% of boys and 11% of girls have been subjected to pain-compliance force, many for refusing to be subjected to strip-searches. That is nearly 1,000 cases. How the hell can a government and country, which says that it will take all measures necessary to ensure child protection, not have stopped this problem?
Further on in the report, page 64, in the section dealing with immigration, it was also revealed that, in the last twelve months 2,000 children, and many of these younger that teenagers, had been detained in detention centres, around 20% of whom had spent more than 28 days there. Is it any wonder that that the affect of sudden arrest and detention increased their fears and anxieties?
My response to this? Stop keep wasting our money telling the public that it is a problem and nothing has been done about it in the past five years. Do something about it NOW!
On page 5 the report tells us that there have been significant key improvements, yet on page 7 it says that positive assessments (good reports) on prisons have fallen from 85 to 62%.
For us as citizens and as a nation, the reports on the Children situation and treatment in prisons is a disgrace. It will be interesting to see how many of the national papers pick up on this story and are prepared to condemn the government for their part in it.