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

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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.”

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Osun Transport Masterplan to Be Ready Soon-Governor Adeleke

Governor Ademola Adeleke has announced his administration’s plan to release to the public the Osun State Transport Master Plan to facilitate integrated connectivity for the Osun economy.

The Governor made the announcement on Thursday while commissioning the Osun State Computerised Vehicle Inspection Testing Center at Osogbo.

The Governor who narrated a series of ongoing reforms being delivered by his government said “The test center right here is the first of its kind among other interventions of our administration to reposition the State’s Transportation sector

According to the State Governor, “Our government is pursuing reforms across the transport sector. We ensure that Commercial Motorcycle operators across the State are registered under a database with a rider’s jacket and identification card for safety purposes. Mini-buses, popularly known as (Korope) have also been registered and numbered for easy identification and security.

“We have introduced single ticketing to all commercial drivers in the State through the Osun State Transport Management System (OSTMS) to guide against leakage of revenue.

“It is equally my pleasure to inform the public that our administration is working on a Transportation Master plan for Osun state. We are focused on a multimodal plan that will integrate all modes of transportation within the state. It will lay our objectives and strategic agenda for land, air, and water transportation.

“The plan is to regulate, plan, and develop an efficient and well-integrated transport system that will serve the public interest, enhance mobility, and deliver a secure and environmentally friendly Public Transportation System in different areas across Osun.

“The plan is central to our five-point agenda as it focuses on connectivity within and outside the state. Osun is centrally located in the heart of Yorubaland.

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Adeleke speaks on collapse of OAU amphitheatre

Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun has promised to pay the medical bills of students injured in the Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), Ile-Ife, Amphitheatre roof collapse.

The affected students are receiving treatment at the University Health Centre and the Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife.

Adeleke, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Dipo Eluwole, sympathised with the management of the University and parents of the affected students on the unfortunate incident.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr Abiodun Olarewaju, in Ile-Ife on Saturday.

The commissioner was conducted round the scene of the incident by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Simeon Bamire, and other principal officers of the University, and visited the two health facilities where the students are receiving treatment.

He expressed happiness that the affected students are responding to the treatment.

Eluwole lauded the university management for its quick response to the emergency and prompt medical attention given to the students.

Speaking to the four students being treated at the University Health and Medical Centre, the commissioner commended their bravery and wished them quick recovery.

At the Neurological ward of the University Teaching Hospital where two other students are being treated, Eluwole pleaded with their parents to see what happened as a natural occurrence.

He, thereafter, informed the vice chancellor that the Gov. Adeleke pledged to bankroll all medical expenses that may be incurred in the course of the treatment of the students.

Responding, the vice-chancellor thanked the governor for being so kind and loving, stressing that his fatherly role to the students and the good people of Osun is commendable.

A torrential rain on Thursday morning, accompanied with a whirlwind affected a part of the ceiling of the Amphitheatre as it fell off and injured some students.

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Woman burns stepchildren’s hands for eating rice prepared for their father

The Adamawa State Police Command has arrested one Rachel Geoffrey, a 23-year-old woman and resident of Federal Housing Estate, Girei, for allegedly setting fire to the hands of her stepchildren.

The children, Genesis Geoffrey, seven years old: and Idadai Geoffrey, three years old, now have their affected hands bandaged.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Suleiman Nguroje, said in a statement that Rachel intentionally inflicted severe physical injuries on her stepchildren.

In the statement released Saturday, the police image maker said the incident occurred on Tuesday, May 14.

He said the children suffered several calculated acts of cruelty and human rights violations from their stepmother.

He explained that the children faced the wrath of the woman over a plate of rice she cooked and kept for her husband.

“The kids, because of hunger, ate their father’s food and that angered her. She then tied their hands with a handkerchief and set fire to them, resulting in the severe injuries they sustained,” Nguroje explained.

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