Many young people in secure homes are innocent

Almost half of the young people in the prison system's secure children's homes have not been convicted of any crime, official figures reveal.

Instead they have been placed there by local authorities on welfare grounds or for their own protection, the Observer newspaper has established.

Of the 229 children being held in secure children's homes in the year to 31 March this year, 45% were placed by local authorities on welfare grounds, according to official figures, compared with just 28% in 2011.

Over four out of 10 of those held on welfare grounds are girls.