Howard Plan for Child Jails Faces Collapse
Mills, Heather, The Independent (London, England)
Home Office officials doubt that Michael Howard's scheme to build five "child jails" for persistent young offenders will go ahead as planned.
Four of the proposed secure units, a key component of the Home Secretary's criminal justice policy, are now bogged down in planning difficulties because of fierce opposition from local residents. Only one, at Cookham Wood prison in Kent - home of Moors murderer Myra Hindley - has gained local authority approval.
Officials fear there will not be time before the next general election to find new sites or win lengthy planning battles.
Labour has never supported the idea of privately-run "little prisons" for 12-14 year olds, arguing instead that money should be provided immediately to increase the number of local authority secure places.
The demise of the much-heralded tough secure units would prove a major embarrassment for the increasingly accident- prone Home Secretary.
The Government first came up with the idea two years ago in a bid to combat a perceived increase in juvenile crime. The proposal for five units - each to take about 40 youngsters - met with strong opposition from child welfare groups, probation officers and penal reformers. However, where such high level dissent failed, the "not- in-my-backyard" sentiment seems to have succeeded.
Planning permission has been refused for centres in Onley, Warwickshire, Medomsley, in Co Durham, and Kidlington, near Oxford. At Gringley, in Nottinghamshire, where there is already a prison, the Home Office has applied for a …
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Publication information: Article title: Howard Plan for Child Jails Faces Collapse. Contributors: Mills, Heather - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: December 3, 1994. Page number: 1. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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