Children transferring to and from custody are safe and treated decently. On arrival children are safe and treated with respect. Their individual needs are identified and addressed, and they feel supported on their first night. Induction is comprehensive.

1. Children travel in safe, decent conditions, are treated with respect and attention is paid to their individual needs.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Children are collected from court soon after their case has been dealt with.
  • Unless not in their best interest children are able to spend time with their parents or carers after their case has been dealt with and before their journey to custody.
  • Children do not travel with adult prisoners.
  • Children are held in cellular vehicles for the shortest possible time.
  • Children are given information they understand about the establishment to which they are being transferred. Children can make a telephone call to their family, next of kin and legal advisor.
  • Escort vehicles are clean and meet the needs of children.
  • Escorting staff are aware of the individual needs of the children in their care and provide an effective written and verbal briefing to receiving staff.
  • Children are given adequate toilet breaks and refreshments during transfer.
  • Children arrive in sufficient time to allow reception and first night procedures to be conducted and to spend time on the first night wing before lock up.
  • Any issues regarding the safety of children under escort are quickly resolved.
  • Restraint techniques are only used as a last resort and for the shortest possible time, when there is an immediate risk to the safety of the child or others, and when all other alternatives have been explored.

2. Children are safe and treated with respect on their reception to and first night in prison. Risks are identified and children are supported according to their individual needs.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • The needs of newly arrived children are promptly assessed to ensure they are safe and supported. Initial assessments are based on all relevant information, with attention to the individual needs and
    characteristics of each child and their safety.
  • Staff engagement is focused on future outcomes and is strength-based in nature.
  • Appropriate action is taken to identify children or other dependants who may be at risk because of their carer’s imprisonment, and to ensure their safety where necessary.
  • Reception and first night accommodation provide a safe, welcoming and supportive environment.
  • Children are offered drinks and hot food on their arrival.
  • Children are only strip-searched where there are well evidenced individual security concerns and with proper authorisation.
  • Interviews are private, take account of all available information and identify vulnerability and risk. Reception staff provide an effective
    briefing to wing staff.
  • Children are reunited with their property on arrival and are moved quickly to designated first night accommodation.
  • Children know how to and can access help and support from staff, family and peer supporters.
  • Children can shower on their first night in a new establishment.
  • Children can make a free telephone call and additional help is provided to those who do not have external support from family and friends.
  • Children receive basic equipment and supplies, including phone credit. They understand how long this is expected to last, its cost and the system for repayment.
  • Peer supporters are used effectively in reception and during the first night. Peer supporters are supervised and supported.
  • Regular welfare checks are carried out on new arrivals.
  • Information on admission, place, transfer and release is provided without delay to the parents and guardians or closest relative of the child concerned, unless this is not in the best interests of the child.

3. Induction takes place promptly. On its completion all children understand the establishment’s routines and how to access available services and support.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met, but do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Induction begins within 24 hours of arrival at the establishment. Induction is comprehensive, structured and multidisciplinary. It is delivered in a range of formats and languages to ensure children understand it.
  • Children are informed of independent sources of information, advice and assistance, including advocacy services and other external sources of support.
  • Children meet their key worker/named personal officer in person during induction.
  • Children’s immediate needs (including contact with families, reassurance about safety, accommodation on release, education, language and health care) are identified on arrival and met.
  • Following induction children are aware of how to get information and help, deal with problems and complain about treatment.
  • Checks are made to ensure they have understood.
  • Children understand that their personal mail and telephone calls may be monitored.
  • Children are purposefully occupied during induction and have access to at least 10 hours out of their cell each day.
  • During the induction programme, children have the opportunity for an individual interview with residential staff, which is recorded.
  • Children’s concerns about custody are addressed and they are asked about any feelings of anxiety, self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
  • Children are informed about the establishment’s procedures to protect them from bullying, peer pressure, and/or any form of abuse or neglect. They are given information about how they will be protected if they have been threatened or harmed.
  • Children who face long or indeterminate sentences are identified on arrival and given support. The elements and implications of a long or indeterminate sentence are explained to them and, where appropriate, their families.
  • Children are supported to arrange their first visit.

Cross reference with: safeguarding of children; bullying and violence reduction; suicide and self-harm prevention; education, skills and work activities; resettlement.

Human rights standards

In relation to expectations 1–3: Human rights standards set out a number of requirements which are applicable to arrival and early days in detention. These include ensuring children are transported safely and in conditions that do not subject them to hardship or indignity, requiring they be provided with information about their place of detention in a language and format they understand, identifying their health care and other needs, ensuring their safety and allowing them to contact family. See CRC 3, 19; ERJO 62; HR 21–27; CPT 115, 122, 130; SMR 7, 54, 55, 58, 67, 68, 73; EPR 15, 16, 30, 31, 32; BOP 16, 24, 31. See also standards in relation to safeguarding of children and security.