Written Question on Young Offenders

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

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Date Title Questioner
2 Mar 2020, 3:49 p.m. Young Offenders Lee Anderson


To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to reduce the number of behaviour management incidents in custody for young offenders.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The number of children in custody has declined by 70% over the past decade, leading to a concentrated cohort of children with particularly complex needs, most of whom are serving sentences for more serious or violent offences. The safety of all children and staff is paramount, so we have taken the following measures:

  • Last year, the Youth Custody Service published, and began implementing, a new approach to behaviour management – “Building Bridges” – developed with the NHS.[1] This is based on the importance of leadership, trusting staff-child relationships and the benefits of reward, prevention and proactive techniques.
  • We are funding all our frontline officers to undertake a youth justice qualification up to foundation degree level, which will enable them to better analyse need and risk, and deploy more effective interventions.
  • We recruited more psychologists and healthcare workers to work with children to help them overcome the issues at the root of their poor behaviour. For those children with the most complex needs, we have created two specialist enhanced support units so they can receive the intensive support they need.
  • We have commissioned a review of pain-inducing restraint techniques, which we expect to publish shortly, and set up a taskforce to review separation practice and policy.

We anticipate this range of new measures will lead to improved behaviour, fewer incidents and better outcomes for children.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-bridges-a-positive-behaviour-framework-for-the-children-and-young-people-secure-estate

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