Over 80% of Welsh Young Offenders Suffer "Over the Border Justice"

2006 Tachwedd 7 2:00 PM

Today, Welsh Liberal Democrat research has revealed that over 80% of Welsh Young Offenders are imprisoned in secure facilities outside Wales.

Commenting, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central and Party Youth Affairs Spokesperson, said:

"This is shocking. Over 80% of young Welsh offenders are held in prisons over the border in England, miles away from their friends and families.

"Without easy access to this essential support group, it is far harder to rehabilitate young offenders and move them away from a life of crime.

"This problem is one product of the Government's heavy handed tactics that demonises and locks away young people rather than putting resources into reducing the chances of re-offending in the future.

"The Youth Justice Board aims to keep 90% of young offenders within 50 miles of their home. But with Welsh young offenders being held in English prisons as far away as Newcastle, London, Kent and the Suffolk coast, the Government is failing young Welsh offenders and their families.

"The Government must get a grip on this problem. Protecting the public and cutting the number of victims of crime has to be the number one priority. There is no evidence that locking people away for long periods of time actually cuts re-offending, especially when they are being held on the other side of the UK from their families.

"If all that happens when we lock young people away is that they come out more likely to commit crimes than before, then the system has failed them and failed the rest of us.

"The Government should use the most effective alternative sentences, such as tough community service, rigorous rehabilitation programmes and stringent close surveillance as an alternative to locking away young Welsh."

Welsh juvenile offenders in secure accommodation as of 1st November, 2006 (all figures from the Youth Justice Board):

- Hillside, S. Wales: 10 (14 Youth Justice Board places, 2 held by English offenders, 2 free)

- Parc, S. Wales: 19 (36 YJB places, 17 English offenders, full)

- Ashfield, SE of Bristol: 85

- Barton Moss Secure Unit, nr Manchester: 3

- Brinsford, Wolverhampton:5

- Carlford Unit (Warren Hill), Suffolk coast: 1

- Dyson Hall, nr Leeds: 1

- Eastwood Park, nr Bristol: 3

- Feltham, West London: 1

- Hassockfield STC, County Durham: 1

- Hindley, Manchester: 4

- Huntercombe, Oxfordshire: 1

- Lancaster Farms, Lancaster: 3

- Medway, Kent: 1

- Oakhill Secure Training Centre, Milton Keynes: 2

- Oswald Unit (Castington), nr Newcastle: 1

- Rainsbrook, nr Rugby: 6

- Red Bank Community Home, Merseyside: 1

- Stoke Heath, Shropshire: 16

- Thorn Cross, Cheshire: 2

- Vinney Green, Gloucestershire: 1

- Werrington, Stoke-on-Trent: 7

- Wetherby, Yorkshire: 1

Total: 175

Ends

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