Rotherham MP objects to prison for children

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham
Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham
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Rotherham MP Sarah Champion has spoken out against plans for a ‘giant children’s prison’.

She aired her view in Parliament as part of a debate on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, where there was a discussion about the Government’s intention to open the prison, which is referred to as a ‘secure college’ by ministers, in 2017.

Ms Champion said: “I want to put on record my abhorrence at the idea of the giant children’s prison.

“I know that it is being packaged as an educational establishment, but there is nothing in the Bill to tell us that there will be qualified teachers and social workers, or anything about the level of education offered.

“Particularly worrisome for me is that only four per cent of the young people and children in the prison population will be girls. Out of 320 young people, about 12 will be girls. I find it abhorrent to put them in a very testosterone-led environment, and worry for their psychological futures.

“I also find the fact that there was no commitment for qualified teachers extremely worrying, and it confirms to me that the college is just a holding borstal, rather than an educational establishment.”