Reformers condemn Rainsbrook as report reveals shocking issues at the Warwickshire prison for young people
A Warwickshire prison for young people has been given the worst Ofsted rating possible.
Rainsbrook secure training centre, near Rugby, was deemed ‘inadequate’, with both staff and children saying they felt unsafe, and that weapons were carried by some residents “just in case”. In the report published on Friday inspectors heard a grim warning from one child who said “somebody is going to die in here soon.”
The privately-run jail, in Warwickshire, had been holding boys and girls aged 12 to 17, but all children were moved out in June because of concerns for their safety. This included children being locked up for 23 hours a day during the pandemic.
The report – by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons – shared findings from a visit conducted in June. Children told inspectors “Of course we are not safe. That’s just how it is” and “Somebody is going to die in here soon”. These observations were echoed by staff, who said that they feared for their own safety as well as the children’s.
Penal reform campaigners The Howard League opposed the creation of secure training centres in the 1990s, when they were introduced alongside the Detention and Training Order, a short prison sentence for children followed by supervision in the community.
The charity warned that children placed in secure training centres would be damaged and hurt. It has called repeatedly for Rainsbrook to be closed.
Rainsbrook is run by MTC. It was previously operated by G4S. In April 2004, a 15-year-old boy, Gareth Myatt, died after being restrained there.
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League, said: “No child should ever be placed in Rainsbrook again. For decades, boys and girls have been harmed and abused while private companies have profited from their misery. It shames the nation that such cruelty has been allowed to continue for so long.
“Secure training centres are failed institutions that were designed for a failed sentence. It is time to scrap them both and ensure that children in trouble are given the care and support they need.”
Meanwhile MTC hit back at the critical report and in a statement said: “We are disappointed in Ofsted’s report published today. It does not acknowledge the progress employees and partners have made at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre (STC) despite the challenges faced throughout the pandemic. Much of the report’s findings are based on opinion and are not always supported by evidence.”