On Monday, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke, wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice triggering the rarely-used Urgent Notification process for the children’s unit of Feltham Young Offenders Institution, Feltham A. This occurred after an inspection last week found an “extraordinary” decline in safety, care and activity for the children held there.

In his letter, Clarke disclosed that 40% of children said they had not felt safe at some point in Feltham, A, that self-harm had tripled since January, that the number of violent incidents had risen by 45% since January and that around two thirds of children reported victimisation by staff. In addition, just 25% of children reported that their emergency cell bell was normally answered within five minutes, and only 45% felt that there was a member of staff they could turn to.

This is a matter that should concern us all and that requires urgent and ongoing scrutiny of how Ministers are responding. We need confidence that the situation is going to be different in another six months.

This is why I secured an Urgent Question Debate yesterday and I am grateful to colleagues who came to take part.

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