The Ministry of Justice is removing all 33 children from a privately-run youth prison amid serious concerns about safety and looking to bring it back under public sector control. Robert Buckland, Justice Secretary, stated that MTC, the private contractor responsible for Rainsbrook, had ‘failed to deliver’ and that he had been ‘left with no choice’ but to move the children.
The MoJ says that it ‘does not believe’ the action taken by MTC over the last six months ‘has done enough to resolve wider long-standing problems’ and that the move was necessary to ‘ensure all young people at Rainsbrook were properly cared for’.
In an inspection in December 2020, children were found to be locked in their rooms for 23.5 hours a day in conditions ‘amount[ing] to solitary confinement’ according to Charlie Taylor, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons. A report by the Justice Committee in March detailed a ‘litany of inaction’ and accused the leadership at Rainsbrook of ‘utter incompetence’. MPs then called on the MoJ to retake control of Rainsbrook unless MTC made substantial improvements.
In a statement released by MTC, they described that the welfare of children at Rainsbrook as their ‘priority’ and their mission had ‘always been to improve the lives of those [they] look after’.