IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

Join Donate

Get News Updates:
  • Print
  • Email author
  • Bookmark and Share

'UK: Children in Custody 2016-2017'

27th November 2017

HM Inspectorate of Prisons - Children in Custody 2016-17 - An analysis of 12-18 year olds’ perceptions of their experiences in secure training centres and young offender institutions.

The HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), as part of their regular inspection process at secure training centres (STCS) and young offender institutions (YOIS), conduct surveys of detained children. These surveys contribute to the evidence upon which the HMIP base their judgments about the treatment and conditions experienced by those being held in custody.

The independent report – Children in Custody 2016-17 – published on Wednesday the 22nd of November summarised the findings of surveys in HMIP inspections in the year. It was commissioned by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) with 720 children completing the surveys at every STC and YOI between the 1st of April 2016 and the 31st of March 2017.

The numbers who felt unsafe in YOIs had fallen from a record high level in 2015-16 but in the 2016-17 surveys there were still 40% who had felt unsafe. Children felt safer in STCs than those in YOIs but a fifth said they had nobody they could turn to if they had a problem. The high disproportionate numbers of black and minority ethnic children, children from Gypsy, Romany or Traveller communities, children with disabilities and mental and emotional health problems and children with backgrounds in local authority care compared to their representation in the general population.

Some key findings from STCs during 2016-17:

  • 22% reported feeling unsafe at some point since arriving at the STC and 6% felt unsafe at the time of the inspection.
  • 25% reported feeling victimised by other children by being shouted at through windows.
  • 49% of all children in STCs identified as being black or from another minority ethnic background.
  • 12% of children identified as Muslim.
  • 10% said they were from a Gypsy, Romany or Traveller background.

Some key findings from (YOIs) during 2016-17:

  • 48% of boys identified as being from a black or minority ethnic background.
  • 42% of boys had experienced local authority care.
  • 22% of boys identified as Muslim.
  • 7% of boys identified as being from a Gypsy, Romany or Traveller background.
  • 39% of boys said they felt unsafe at their establishment, lower than 46% in 2015-16.

Overall, the average number of children (aged under 18) in custody fell by 56% between 2011-12 and 2016-17. The number of children in custody has fallen by 70% in the period from 2006-07.

See HM Inspectorate of Prisons - Children in Custody 2016-17 – report here.

Learn more