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Young Offender Institutions: Languages

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many children in young offender institutions do not have English as a first language; (321736)

(2) how many children in young offender institutions do not speak English.

Data on the number of young people in Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) who do not speak English, or whose first language is not English, are not collected centrally. In order to meet foreign language needs in YOIs, translations, or explanations through an interpreter, of important information must be available for all young people whose first language is not English. Interpreters can also be provided to supplement translated material.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many incidents of bullying or harassment of children who do not speak English as a first language were recorded in young offender institutions in each year since 2006. (321739)

The National Offender Management Service does not collect data centrally on either incidents of the bullying or harassment of prisoners in young offender institutions, or of children who do not speak English as a first language.

Each young offender institution has arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of the young people in its care, including strategies for child protection, suicide and self-harm prevention and violence reduction.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice in how many young offender institutions there is a routine assessment of the language skills of children when they are admitted. (321750)

There is no routine assessment of a young person's language ability. However we are working with the Communication Trust to improve awareness and support for young people in the youth justice system who have communication needs. Supported by DCSF funding, the Communication Trust is taking forward a programme to improve awareness of the importance of young people's communication needs in the secure estate and youth offending teams. The trust is developing training for the youth justice work force and influencing existing work force programmes and National Occupational Standards.