Too little had been done to improve the education and care at a high dependency unit in West Yorkshire causing ‘unnecessary anxiety and anguish’ for some of the most vulnerable and traumatised children.
According to the latest prison’s inspection report into HM Youth Offender Institute Wetherby and its specialist Keppel Unit, children were subject to ‘a very limited regime of just one hour out of cell each day’. It also reported that one child had been waiting for 44 days in segregation to receive ‘urgently needed’ specialist care.
Charlie Taylor, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, reported that less than a third of children (31%) spent more than two hours out of their cell each day. The weekend regime was noted as ‘particularly poor’ with around 45 minutes of out of cell time each day. The report called for ‘consistent meaningful human contact’ amongst its recommendations.
Taylor described the delays in mental health transfer as a ‘lack of will’ by the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health and Social Care ‘to provide adequate care for some of the most vulnerable children in society’ causing ‘unnecessary anxiety and anguish’. The report recommended that under the Mental Health Act, children should ‘receive a swift assessment’ with “subsequent transfers” taking place within 14 days.
Concerns were also raised about the lack of ‘consistent education’ with about one in four children (26%) describing the in-cell education packs as helpful. Due to the ‘restricted’ day, it was recommended that the amount of time children spend engaged in activities out of their cells should increase.
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