In a letter to Lord McNally, the Chair of the Youth Justice Board, Article 39, the Howard League for Penal Reform and INQUEST say we are “deeply troubled” that MTCnovo, the company taking over the management of Rainsbrook secure training centre, appears to have no experience of looking after vulnerable children in a residential setting. Information we have been able to collate about MTC’s management of adult prisons in the United States is “disturbing”.
We seek the following reasurances:
- During the contracting process, was the Youth Justice Board made aware of the judicial and civil society concerns in the US we outline in respect of adult prisons managed by MTC?
- What professional qualifications will MTCnovo managers and staff be required to have?
- What ratio of staff to children will be followed during weekday and weekend shifts?
- Will there be any change to the numbers of children held in Rainsbrook?
- We understand the YJB monitor has been maintaining closer scrutiny of Rainsbrook since February’s inspection; will this continue during and after the transition to MTCnovo management?
- Will MTCnovo be required contractually to notify all restraint injuries, every use of strip-searching and all child protection allegations to the local authority, consistent with the guidance issued last year by the Association of Independent Chairs of Local Safeguarding Children Boards and the NSPCC?
- Will the company permit access to Rainsbrook by interested groups such as ourselves and welcome external scrutiny?
- Will it respond to Freedom of Information requests, since its work with children will be completely funded by the taxpayer?
- Finally, has provision been made in the five-year contract for early termination should it be found that children have not been properly cared for, and protected, at Rainsbrook?