Child jail Medway Secure Training Centre, located in Kent, was in the news a few months ago after reports of excessive use of force and abuse surfaced.
Private security contractor G4S had been running the Medway centre since it opened in 1998. However, the centre is set to be taken over by the National Offender Management Service, which is also responsible for probation services and public sector prisons.
The decision to take over the centre will be formally announced in next few days and will come before the improvement board report is sent to justice ministers. The report is due to be released this month and will give details of the possible options for Medway.
Undercover filming in January revealed that the centre staff were using excessive force to restrain youngsters, officers were lying when reporting incidents, and the staff were bullying the children. After this secret recording was made public, four staff members were arrested and charged with child neglect.
G4S announced in February 2016 that it would be selling its children’s services business in the UK, which includes two secure training centres (Medway and Oakhill) and 13 children’s homes.
The Ministry of Justice had extended G4S’ contract until July while the improvement board made its recommendations to justice ministers. In April 2016, the Justice Ministry stated that the private security contractor would not be taking the new contract to run the Medway centre that it had previously been awarded.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said that the Ministry’s priority will always be the welfare and safety of the children in the centre, and that is why the Justice Secretary had decided to establish an independent improvement board to look into the running of Medway Secure Training Centre.
G4S stated that the behaviour of its staff in Medway was unacceptable, and the company was offering complete support to the improvement board.