Children are remaining at a detention centre where they were locked up for 23 hours a day, a justice minister has admitted, despite a pledge to remove them a month ago.
Alex Chalk, the Prisons and Probation Minister, told the Justice Select Committee that some children are still in Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre.
Last month, Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, announced that all 33 children housed in the facility would be removed after serious concerns over the children’s safety.
One boy was only allowed out of his room for a total of four hours over a fortnight, while other children at the centre, run by a private US contractor, received so little encouragement to get up in the mornings that they spent much of the day in their pyjamas.
Mr Buckland said at the time: “Six months ago, I demanded that MTC take immediate action to fix the very serious failings at Rainsbrook. It has failed to deliver and I have been left with no choice but to ask that all children are moved elsewhere as soon as possible."
Mr Chalk also revealed that the children would be moved to other parts of the prison estate, with 15 of the children being sent to Young Offender Institutions (YOIs)
Bob Neill, the select committee chair, however noted that these institutions may not be suitable for the young children leaving Rainsbrook, as YOIs often contain older children who have committed more serious offences.
!Given that they were placed in STCs (skilled training centers), often because they’re deemed to be too vulnerable to be placed in the YOI setting,” he said yesterday.
“Surely that’s the wrong place to be putting in, isn’t it? You are putting them into a setting which by definition there’s a concern about placing them.”
It was also revealed that some children would be placed in another facility which had also demonstrated failings similar to Rainsbrook, which had been mothballed while the MoJ considered its future.
Oakhill, the destination for an undisclosed number of children, was subject to police investigations into 27 members of staff in relation to allegations of abuse or neglect of young people in the past three years.
Sir Bob Neill said: "The issue here is that the conditions at Oakhill have been subject to concern as well, and it got to such a stage that there was a temporary pause in placements.”
The Ministry of Justice has been contacted for comment.