THE Inspector of HM Prisons has said standards for young people in custody must improve.
And that includes young women prisoners held at Flockton’s New Hall jail.
The annual report by HM Prison Service surveyed the experiences of 1,115 men aged 15 to 18, and 47 young women of the same age in 15 establishments.
This includes around 400 young men who are were housed at a facility in Wetherby, and nine women at the Rivendell Unit is in the grounds of New Hall.
The figures show over half of young men (53%, an increase from 39% in 2009-10) and 48% of young women said it was their first time in custody.
Only 79% of young men said they felt safe on their first night, down from 82% in 2009/10, and just 63% of young men thought they were treated with respect by staff, down from 69% the previous year. Young men also reported more victimisation by staff, with racial or ethnic abuse up to 5% from 3% in 2009/10.
Over half of the young women surveyed said they had spent time in the care of the local authority.
While the overall number of children and young people in custody continued to fall during 2010-11 from 1,977 to 1,822, a “changing profile of the children and young people in custody” was emerging, the inspectors said.
Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, said: “This report has highlighted some deterioration in children and young people’s experience of custody.
“Despite the falling numbers, this population has well-defined vulnerability and increasing numbers within minority groups.
“The need, therefore, to provide these young people with support during their time in custody and in preparation for release is as great as ever.”