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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

August 10, 2004: Howard League warning on children in prison

The Howard League for Penal Reform has written to Home Secretary David Blunkett, warning him that proposed new rules covering the 2,800 children in prisons will fail to protect them. The proposed rules allow for routine stripping including inspection of the genital area of children and the use of physical restraint that causes pain. They could languish for long hours alone in cells with little or no education and no exercise.

The rules which will be issued as a Prison Service Order (PSO) to governors, had to be re-written following a successful judicial review by the Howard League in 2002 which found the Home Secretary to be acting unlawfully for refusing to apply the protection of the Children Act to children in prisons. The PSO, which is due to come into force in September 2004, fails to mention the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child despite the fact that this places the UK government under an obligation to be guided by the best interests of the child relating to the care of children.

Howard League Director Frances Crook wrote to the Home Secretary setting out detailed concerns:

  1.  There is no longer a special order for girls despite the fact that they have significant different needs to boys

  2. The previous order specified a minimum of 10 hours out of cell, 6 of which had to be purposeful whereas the new order is vague and means children could spend many more hours locked alone in their cells

  3. Provision for education is diluted so that in future it appears that children in prison will not be entitled to a minimum number of hours of education

  4. The order is wrong in law when it claims that children on remand are not subject to the young offender institution rules. The Howard League for Penal Reform judicial review SP v SSHD made it clear that a child held in a young offender institutions had to be subject to YOI rules

  5.  The proposed rules allow for routine strip-searching of children, which includes inspection of the genital area by adult staff, despite the fact that many children in prison have been sexually abused.

  6. The proposed rules allow for pain compliant physical restraint, a system designed to control adults.

Frances Crook stated:

“The prison service construes the need for child protection almost entirely around historical abuse the children experienced prior to custody but excludes abuse they may suffer inside prison. The Howard League for Penal Reform research and case studies show that children experience physical abuse in prison when restrained, held in solitary confinement and forcibly stripped. A comprehensive child protection policy should also protect children from bullying and violence by other teenagers.”