Lights out - and no reading under covers: Young offenders twill be sent to bed early

Government hopes boarding school-style policy will introduce discipline to criminals’ lives

Whitehall Editor

For David Cameron and his cabinet colleagues who grew up with the rigours of a boarding school education it was a normal fact of daily life.

Dormitory “lights out” meant exactly that – and woe betide anyone who infringed the rules. Now, in a clear case of “what worked for us might work for you”, ministers are planning to extend the discipline of fixed bed times to teenage criminals in young offender institutions.

From August, governors have been told that they must strictly enforce a 10.30pm cell lights-out policy and remove privileges from anyone breaking the new rules.

After that time televisions – or reading under the covers – will be strictly banned and staff will be expected to carry out patrols to make sure the new edict is enforced.

At the same time – perhaps to make them more ready for bed – the Government plans to more than double the number of hours of education and training that the 827 under-18s currently in custody receive each week.

At the moment, teenagers in custody receive an average of twelve hours of education a week – but this will rise to 12 under the new plans.

The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who didn’t himself attend boarding school, said the move was less about  punishment and more about discipline.

“The public expects that serious offenders face prison,” he said.

“But it is also crucial that young people, most of whom have had chaotic and troubled lives, finally get the discipline so badly needed to help turn their lives around.

“In some prisons young people are allowed to go to bed when they please. 

“I don’t think that is right. Stopping this inconsistency and introducing a strict lights-out policy is all part of our approach to addressing youth offending. Those who fail to comply will face tough sanctions.”

But the shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan described the move as a “gimmick”.

“Routine is crucial for those with chaotic lives, but to think that turning the lights off at the same time in every youth prison is all that’s needed to turn them all into law-abiding citizens is a joke,” he said. “This looks like a gimmick to cover the cracks caused by Grayling’s cuts.”

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said they felt the move was entirely inappropriate.

“A new lights-out policy will only exacerbate the problem of overuse of physical restraint in the youth secure estate, which indicates a lack of trained, experienced staff with enough time to supervise and support the challenging children and young people in their charge,” she said.

“As most parents of teenagers know, common-sense discussion, constructive activity, setting reasonable boundaries and encouraging personal responsibility all work better than new hard-and-fast rules backed by petty restrictions and harsh punishments.”

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam