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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I think that the noble Lord is referring to Northampton magistrates court and Northampton Crown Court. Let me make it clear that the vehicle did not make a special journey to Northampton solely to move one prisoner from the Crown Court to the magistrates court. The vehicle left the contractors base in Leicester to collect prisoners from Her Majestys Prison Bedford and to deliver them to Cambridge magistrates court. The vehicle was then routed to Northampton to transfer the prisoner from the Crown Court to the magistrates court and to collect prisoners from the magistrates court and escort them to Her Majestys Prison Glen Parva in Leicestershire before returning to the Leicester base. That seems to be a perfectly appropriate thing to have done.
Baroness Falkner of Margravine: My Lords, does the Minister agree that prisoners are at their most vulnerable just after sentencing? Is he aware that, of the 92 suicides reported in 2007, 41 involved prisoners on remand and 20 per cent occurred within the first seven days, in comparison with 8 per cent within the first seven days in 2006? Does he accept the importance of ensuring that prisoners arrive at their designated institution in time to be assessed, because that is when they are at their most vulnerable? This is a serious matter.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, it is indeed a serious matter. I accept everything that the noble Baroness says. However, despite the current pressures in the system, the figures for 2007-08 show that 97 per cent of prisoners were delivered to the prison before reception closure. I very much take the point that she raises about the importance of the assessment that then needs to take place.
Baroness Howe of Idlicote: My Lords, will the Minister confirm to the House that, if a young person, woman or, indeed, any offender, for whatever reason, arrives late at night and there is clear evidence to everyone on the scene that there are mental health problems or a risk of suicide, someone with mental health expertise of a sufficiently high calibre will be available to come to the prison to give the appropriate treatment?
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, the noble Baroness raises some of the pressures involved in ensuring that a proper assessment can take place if a prisoner is delivered to a prison or young offender institution late at night. That is why we have set a challenging target that 100 per cent of prisoners should be delivered before reception closes. When that is not possible, great care is taken to liaise with the appropriate establishment to ensure that an appropriate assessment takes place, but I accept that this is a considerable challenge.
What steps they intend to take to protect the environment and maintain public amenities in Greenwich Park in the context of its planned conversion for the three-day equestrian event at the 2012 Olympics.
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd is working closely with stakeholders on the detailed plans for Greenwich Park as a temporary venue for the equestrian event at the 2012 Games. LOCOGs aim is to protect the ecology and historic nature of Greenwich Park, including the buildings and archaeology that form the backdrop to the venue, and to avoid any sensitive areas. The site will be fully restored after the event.
Lord James of Blackheath: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer. However, I find it a stretch of the imagination to understand how it can be restored when presumably a large number of trees will have to be demolished in order to make way for the 170-acre utilisation of the park for the creation of a three-day-event venue. That will be significantly less than the 1,800 acres used in the other principal establishments in this country for the same sport. Given that we have some medal aspirations for this sport, is it not unreasonable to restrict the crowd to about 25,000 compared with the 200,000 or so who can be accommodated elsewhere? How would the Olympic budget cope with the loss of revenue represented by such a restriction on the crowd?
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the main stadium, which will be in the grounds of the National Maritime Museum, will cater for 23,000 spectators. There will be more spectators around the course. It is a restricted site in comparison with others, but it has the supreme advantage of being very close to the main Olympic facilities. This is Londons bid and it is only appropriate that these important events should be located within the capital if possible. The bid met with the full approval of the vetting authorities in those terms. However, a great deal of work needs to be done.
Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, the present car parking arrangements will obviously be inadequate for this event. Is it the Governments intention to concrete over the ancient cricket and rugby fields, which have been in use for more than 100 years?
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, detailed plans have not been finalised because there needs to be a great deal of consultation with local stakeholders, as I indicated in my initial Answer. I do not have a direct answer for the noble Baroness, but she and the House should accept that LOCOG is well aware of the significant historical nature of this site. It is of great value to all people in the United Kingdom. Nothing will be done to damage the site.
Lord Addington: My Lords, if we accept that the London Olympics must, in principle, have its main eventsthe equestrian event is clearly one of themin London, can the Government assure us that they will put as much pressure as is reasonable on LOCOG to ensure that we never lose any sporting facilities permanently? For example, the football pitches at Hackney Marsh were supposed to disappear, but they are not going to; they will come back in better condition. Will LOCOG ensure that anything that is disrupted is improved, and that, if we lose the odd tree, we plant two instead?
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, on the question of facilities, the legacy plans of the Olympic movement are to ensure that opportunities are enhanced, not restricted, after the Games. That is why I am confident in answering the noble Baronesss question about whether facilities will be lost. If it proved absolutely necessary to take some away permanently, there would be an obligation to replace them elsewhere. As far as trees are concerned, there is no doubt that there is local anxiety about the issue. The removal of trees must be kept to a minimum.
Lord Berkeley: My Lords, can the Minister assure the House that the development of the Olympic sites will involve the principle of the maximum use of public transport and, therefore, the minimum provision of car parks? Will this apply in Greenwich, as it will in Stratford?
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, that is certainly the objective, but it is more easily realised at Stratford, with its superb communications, than at Greenwich. We all appreciate that Greenwich, by comparison, has greater difficulty with regard to public transport. Nevertheless, my noble friend is right. As far as possible, these will be the green Games. In order to be the green Games, public transport must play a significant part.
Lord Lyell of Markyate: My Lords, is it not correct that some of the football is, sensibly, going to be played in Manchester? In those circumstances, when some of the finest three-day-event areas in Britain are in other parts of the country, is it not rather ridiculous to insist on having it in Greenwich Park, which will suffer so much damage?
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, football will be scattered because it will have many series of games in the Olympic tournament. The Greenwich site will be used only for the equestrian events and the running and riding parts of the pentathlon. Its use will be much more limited. A crucial part of Londons bid is that the vast majority of events should take place within London. Greenwich has always figured as the site for these events. That must be fulfilled, while respecting the sensitive issues that have been presented by noble Lords today.
Lord Forsyth of Drumlean: My Lords, will the Minister undertake to write to those who have expressed an interest in the issue of trees? He blithely says, Im
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Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, bearing in mind all these anxieties, Friends of Greenwich Park, which is an important community group, seems satisfied that the site can be constructed. Of course the noble Lord is right that care has to be taken of trees that are not easily replaced; that certainly includes trees associated with Elizabeth I.
Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, will the noble Lord think again about having the event in Greenwich, as opposed to Badminton? After all, the lottery funds are being raided for the London Olympics. Is it not about time that somewhere else in the country other than Manchester, for football, had some hope of seeing some of the Games?
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, if the noble Baroness will forgive me, it is a little late in the day to suggest that there may be better sites elsewhere in the country. Of course there are specialist sites elsewhere, but we are talking about the London Olympics. That is why the bid was made in the name of London and was successful over Parisbecause the vast majority of events are to be located closely together in London. That was one of the great virtues of the bid, and it is why we won.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, with the permission of the House, my noble friend Lady Morgan of Drefelin will repeat a Statement entitled Cabinet Office assessment documents immediately after the first debate in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford.
Moved, That the debate on the Motion in the name of Lord Thomas of Gresford set down for today shall be limited to three hours and that in the name of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer to two hours.
It all started back in 1992. Your Lordships will remember the pledge of the shadow Home Secretary at the time, Mr Tony Blair, to the Labour Party conference when he said that the Labour Party would be,
Jack Straw pledged curfews for 10 year-olds. It was Labours response to the disaster of the 1992 electiona repositioning that would put them well to the right of the noble Lord, Lord Hurd, who in his period as Home Secretary had argued that the British prison system did not work effectively and called for more rehabilitation of offenders and alternative sentencing. Mr Michael Howard, however, appointed as Home Secretary in 1993, coined the phrase prison works and ratcheted up the rhetoric in a competition for toughness, which has led us to the position where
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So it was that in government new Labour sought to tackle youth offending through the criminal justice route. The deep-rooted social problems which various studies had identified were to be solved not through investment in mainstream local authority childrens and young peoples provision and more effective children's services, but through punishment. The White Paper No More Excuses, published in 1998, stated that,
Any plans to tackle the complex economic and social factors that cause youth offending were put on the back burner. The flagship Bill in 1998, which your Lordships will recall was the Crime and Disorder Bill, abolished the principle of doli incapaxone of the principles of this country that nobody under the age of 13 could be assumed to be guilty. It also established the Youth Justice Board, created locally accountable youth offending teams, replaced cautions with a new reprimand and final warning scheme and restructured non-custodial penalties. It also introduced the ASBO, the rationale for which was described by Hazel Blears MP in these terms:
Disorder causes police the most problems. If police are to deal with serious crime, they cannot constantly be on the streets trying to control behaviour in the community. Orders dealing with anti-social behaviour will be most useful in dealing with that type of situation. They will apply to anti-social families, who often roam the streets of my city with impunity, causing misery and mayhem to the decent people who are trying to uphold standards.[Official Report, Commons, 8/4/98; col. 414.]
She praised ASBOs for introducing the civil burden of proof, making it easier for orders to be obtained and welcomed the punitive sentence of five years imprisonment, which could be imposed for their breach. There was a relish for the punishment of young people in Labour ranks for conduct that was not criminal at all. Those feelings were extended and deepened by successive Home Secretaries from David Blunkett to John Reid, whose frustration at the courts insistence on the legal traditions of fairness and justice was self-evident.
Between 1998 and 2001, four separate Acts of Parliament dealt with aspects of youth crime and in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act recently passed, it has all been overhauled again. The report, which is the subject of the debate, Ten Years of Labours Youth Justice Reforms, is an independent audit by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at Kings College London, and its two authors, Enver Solomon and Richard Garside are the deputy director and director respectively. They focused not on the philosophy or principles behind the Labour Governments initiatives,
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Therefore, it does not seek to quantify the distinctive and particular contribution made by the various youth agencies to levels of youth crime. It does not have the material on which to make that assessment. The reports most significant finding is the move away from a welfare approach to dealing with children and young people, to one which relies far more on punishment. New Labour, new punitiveness is a phrase that has been coined to describe it.
Secondly, the report concludes that the Government sought to introduce a more managerialist approach to tackling youth crime, focusing on processing young offenders from arrest to sentence. The only target it set that has been hit has been from Mr Prescott's little five pledges card getting children quicker through the courts and into custody.
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