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23 October 2014

Peers win vital safeguard for young offenders

Government plans to hold young children and girls with older teenage boy in a proposed new 320-place “secure college” in Leicester were rejected by Peers in a tight vote in the House of Lords during the Report Stage (Day 2) debate on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. Peers voted by 186 to 185, majority one, to back a proposal to prevent the establishments housing girls or children under the age of 15.

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, described the defeat as a “victory for common sense”.

She said: “This saves the Government from undermining its own success in reducing child imprisonment and youth crime. It’s not too late to reconsider this ill-judged college of crime altogether and invest instead in smaller, local and more effective ways to get children out of trouble.”

Opposition amendments to limit the use of force and improve Parliamentary scrutiny and oversight of the government’s plans were rejected by a narrow margin. Read the Prison Reform Trust briefing prepared for the debate by clicking here.

Read the full debate by clicking here.