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Govt plans £85m 'secure college' for young offenders

An £85 million "secure college" is to be built as part of Government plans to improve education for those under the age of 18 who are convicted of a crime.

Read more: Feltham 'unacceptably violent'

Young offenders
Justice minister Chris Grayling said he wanted to tackle the "root cause" of youth offending. Credit: PA

Up to 320 young offenders aged between 12 and 17-years-old will be housed in the Leicestershire building, which is expected to open in 2017.

The facility will be run by a head teacher or principal rather than a prison governor, backed up by a team of education professionals who will care for inmates housed on the site in living blocks.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: "Nearly three-quarters of young offenders who leave custody re-offend within a year; clearly the system as it is at the moment isn't working.

"It's right that the most serious or persistent young offenders face custody but we must use this time to tackle the root cause of their offending and give them the skills and self-discipline they need to gain employment or training upon release."

Read more: Secure colleges for young offenders

Grayling backs criticism of starved boy review

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has told ITV News it is 'right and proper' for the Government to ensure tragic deaths like that of Hamzah Khan never happen again.

Earlier, children's minister Edward Timpson said a serious case review failed to address key questions.

He expressed his 'deep concerns' over the review's findings that the four year old's death could not have been predicted.

Mr Grayling supported his colleague's stand and said it was important no stone was left unturned in finding out what happened.

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Justice Secretary: What about the rights of victims?

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said he profoundly disagrees with a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that 'whole life' sentences are "inhuman".

I have repeatedly made clear how profoundly I disagree with the recent ruling by the European Court.

Our judges should be able to tell those who commit the most heinous crimes imaginable that they may never be released.

To be told this breaches human rights is absurd — and an insult to those who wrote the original Human Rights Convention. What about the rights of the victims and their families?

I continue to strongly believe that whole life tariffs are appropriate for the worst murder cases. This is why I want wholesale reforms to our human rights laws.

– Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary

Read: Murderer launches first 'whole life' appeal against sentence

G4S drops tagging contract bid after overcharging error

Private security firm G4S has pulled out of bidding for new contracts for tagging criminals following an overcharging scandal.

G4S had initially refused to withdraw from the process despite revelations that the firm, along with its rival Serco, had been overcharging the Government by millions of pounds for the electronic tagging of criminals.

Private security firm G4S has pulled out of bidding for new contracts for tagging criminals. Credit: PA Wire

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said he was pleased that the company had decided to withdraw from the bidding process but revealed the company would still face a review into its deals with the Government:

"I am glad they have decided to withdraw now. We can now get on with awarding that contract, which will improve the monitoring of offenders and deliver savings for the taxpayer. Our concerns regarding the billing for the electronic monitoring contract still need to be addressed."

Read: Security firms accused of overcharging millions for tagging criminals

Government 'ignoring' needs of female prisoners

A group of MPs warned that probation reforms need to be resigned for offenders at prisons like this one. Credit: PA

The Government is ignoring the needs of women offenders with its probation reforms, a group of MPs have warned.

Five years after the Corston report into female prisoners, the Commons Justice Select Committee has found that the female prison population has not fallen fast enough and more than half of women continue to receive ineffective short custodial sentences.

The committee said plans to introduce payment by results in probation services - part of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's so-called rehabilitation revolution - need to be redesigned for women offenders.

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Cable: 'Certainly something bad happened' on tagging

Business Secretary Vince Cable said "certainly something bad happened here" after the Serious Fraud Office was urged to investigate G4S following its refusal to co-operate with the Government over the tagging contract scandal.

Mr Cable told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, "The Government has been looking very carefully at how it gets value for money and has judged that there is some overcharging taking place and we are trying to get down to competitive costs".

G4S has a number of Government contracts, including security.
G4S has a number of Government contracts, including security. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

He said his Business Department was reviewing the contracts it has with private companies - including G4S and Serco - to deliver public services.

Asked whether the scandal casts doubt over the notion of contracting out state activities to private providers, Mr Cable said, "There are lots of success stories that you don't hear about, but where there is bad practice and lack of care then obviously we've got to tighten up".

What do we know about the electronic tagging scandal?

What we currently know of the electronic tagging scandal is based on a government-commissioned audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers. It concluded that:

  • Ministry of Justice was billed for tagging of people who were in prison, had left the country and who had never been tagged in the first place. In a few cases, the subject had died.
  • Charging continued for many months, and even years, after it should have
  • Alleged overcharging dates back to at least 2005, and possible 1999
  • Incorrect bills run into the low tens of millions

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said he has found "no information to confirm that dishonesty has taken place on the part of either supplier," but added that he wants an investigation to look into this.

Justice Secretary vows to fight 'for every penny'

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said he plans to fight "for every penny" that the Ministry of Justice was allegedly overcharged for electronic tagging services.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Earlier he said that a government-commissioned audit suggested that the incorrect bills ran into the "low tens of millions" and that he would take "all necessary steps" to get a refund for taxpayers.

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