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G4S: Secure Training Centres

Volume 608: debated on Tuesday 26 April 2016

8. What recent discussions he has had with G4S on its proposal to sell its contracts for the operation of secure training centres. (904670)

The MOJ has been in regular contact with G4S. We are closely monitoring the progress of the potential sale to ensure that it does not jeopardise the delivery of care at its secure training centres.

I am sure the Minister agrees that the breach of care at Medway secure training centre demonstrates the risks involved when a state duty of care is entrusted to a private organisation. How will he ensure that any transferee of the contracts observes the duty of care more robustly, and what assessment has he made of transferring such contracts back to the public sector?

The MOJ retains its rights over determining any transfer of the contracts from G4S, and the Secretary of State appointed an independent improvement board at Medway, whose recommendations we will consider and which will no doubt be of value for the future. Finally, the Charlie Taylor review is looking at youth justice and how to put education at its heart by creating a safe and nurturing environment in which people can make real educational progress.

Next week, we will see a new contract holder for the Rainsbrook secure training centre. The contract has been awarded to an American company called MTC Novo. Given G4S’s appalling record at Rainsbrook and Medway, how can the Minister justify the contract being awarded to a company that has one of its American prisons under judicial oversight, owing to “cruel and unusual punishments” being administered by its staff?

I think there is some dispute over MTC’s American history, but I am happy to write to the hon. Gentleman on that point. We are agnostic on provision; we want the best possible provision. As he will know, G4S runs extremely high-quality prisons in Wales, such as Parc prison at Bridgend. I also remind him that the contract with G4S ran under three successive Labour Governments.