Connect with us


Children locked in rooms at youth prison up to 23 hours a day – report


Children locked in rooms at youth prison up to 23 hours a day – report

Children being held in a privately run prison have been locked in their rooms for up to 23 hours a day in uncomfortably hot conditions, according to a damning report by three inspectorates.

Inspectors who arrived unannounced at Oakhill secure training centre (STC) for boys aged 12-17 identified “widespread failings” which they said were having “a significant impact on the care and wellbeing of the children held there”.

The centre’s records showed that from mid-July 2021 onwards, children being held at the institution in Milton Keynes spent approximately 19 hours a day on average locked in their rooms, increasing to 23 hours on some days, and the report noted that the true figure could have been even higher.

“The Youth Custody Service (YCS) reported to inspectors that it questions the accuracy of the centre’s data, indicating that the time children have spent locked into their rooms could be higher than that reported by the centre,” the report states.

It is not the first time concerns have been raised about children being held in near solitary confinement in STCs.

All children were removed from Rainsbrook, near Rugby in Warwickshire, after inspectors raised safety concerns when, at the start of pandemic, new arrivals as young as 15 were locked in their rooms for a fortnight and allowed out for just 30 minutes a day, because of concerns about coronavirus.

Some of those children were then transferred to Oakhill, which had 46 resident at the time of the monitoring visit in September. G4S, which runs Oakhill, blamed the highly restricted regime on a staffing crisis, with significant numbers forced to self-isolate because of Covid regulations.

The Oakhill report, by the schools watchdog Ofsted, the Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), also identified a “significant increase in violence”. It said children’s day-to-day experiences were “very poor”, organisation was “chaotic”, children did not know what was happening from one day to the next, and education was often delivered through a locked bedroom door.

The report went on: “The temperatures in children’s living units and in other parts of the centre are too high. This leads to an environment in summer months that is not conducive to the positive care of children.”

Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the “distressing” realities in the report echoed the league’s own findings of “boys locked in their cells for hours on end without fresh air or face-to-face education”.

“The Howard League opposed the creation of secure training centres in the 1990s. In the decades since, hundreds of boys and girls have been harmed and abused while private companies have profited from their misery. This report on Oakhill should be the final straw. It is time to close the secure training centres and ensure that boys and girls in trouble are given the care and support they need.”

A spokesperson for Oakhill said: “The safety of children at Oakhill secure training centre is paramount. Earlier this year, staff numbers at Oakhill were severely depleted by the impact of Covid-19 as significant numbers of staff were required, under prevailing regulations, to self-isolate at home.

“Since the Ofsted visit Oakhill’s operating regime for children has improved and, over the past month, children have been able to spend on average 12 hours out of their rooms daily. Education in classrooms has been restored and children are now receiving a full educational programme.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

8 + three =


NSCDC To Deploy 30,000 Officers For 2023 Elections

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has disclosed that it will deploy 30,000 operatives to ensure peace during the upcoming general elections in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Commandant- General of the NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday,

He said the operatives would be deployed nationwide to maintain peace.

He said the NSCDC has perfected plans to deploy all resources needed to provide security during the election.

“The corps is poised fairly, and ready to apply all the arsenals needed to provide security and safety for the elections.

“We have an operations department of over 30,000 personnel but then we will also deploy others when the time comes.

“Normally we have the bulk of our people in operations and those who are in operations partake in election processes,” he said.

Audi said that the corps had also perfected plans to begin seminars and workshops in October to discuss the preparedness of the organization towards the general elections.

“We want to tell our people that if you go and involve yourself by becoming partisan you are on your own.

“There are certain things we have introduced in our Standard Operating Procedure — that once you go partisan and you are caught, you will face sanctions and you are on your own.

“So we are ready to partake in the election like I said because we are apolitical and we are going to provide a level-playing field for all citizens to be involved in the elections and exercise their franchise.”

Audi said that the NSCDC partook in election activities because it’s a member of the Inter-agency, Consultative Committee on Election Security.

Continue Reading


NSIA Not Stakeholder In Nigeria Air- F.G

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has declared that the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) is not an investor in the Nigeria Air project.

Sirika made the clarification in a statement issued by James Odaudu, his special assistant on public affairs, on Saturday.

The minister had listed NSIA as part of the local investors with stakes in the national carrier.

He said the NSIA is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, adding that the error was made during his media briefing.

“We wish to clarify that the Authority (NSIA) is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, being a government establishment,” Sirika said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the equity ownership structure of Nigeria Air stands as Ethiopian Airlines 49%, Nigerian private investors (SAHCO, MRS and other institutional investors) 46% and the Federal Government 5%.

“The public, especially the business community and the media, should please note”, the statement added.

Continue Reading


Nigerians Not Ripe Enough To Bear Arms- NSCDC

Nigerians are not ripe to be allowed to bear arms.

This is according to the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ahmed Audi who made the observation when he attended the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.

“I strongly disapproved of it. Even now that there is no law in existence, you still have proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the hands of people.

“It has to do with civilisation and education.

“Even in Europe and America where they have that law where virtually everybody once you can drive can have arms, they are trying to control it now because of how some events unfold.

“In the world, especially in Europe and America, somebody will just wake up and just go to a school and open fire on kids. You know that is madness.

“And so for me, I don’t think we are there yet to allow citizens carry arms” , he said.


Continue Reading