G4S Medway unit: Young inmates to get bedroom phone lines

The Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester Image copyright PA
Image caption Five men were arrested by Kent Police following the allegations of abuse at the unit in Medway

Phone lines are to be installed in bedrooms for inmates at a young offenders' unit at the centre of abuse allegations.

Youngsters at the G4S-run Medway Secure Training Centre, Rochester, will each have access to a room phone and 20 minutes of credit per day.

They are being fitted to help inmates build relationships and call services like the Samaritans and ChildLine.

A BBC Panorama investigation uncovered mistreatment claims in January.

'Secure system'

Currently, an inmate has to wait for a member of staff to bring a phone to their room who then stays with them while they make the call.

Unify Business Solutions said the system would be "secure" with all numbers pre-checked to prevent abuse.

In February, G4S said it was planning to sell its children's services business including the two secure units at Oakhill, Buckinghamshire, and Medway, Kent.

The BBC investigation in January featured undercover footage showing staff mistreating and abusing inmates, and boasting about using inappropriate techniques to restrain youngsters.

The abuse claims related to 10 boys. Five men were arrested by Kent Police on suspicion of either child neglect or assault and bailed until April.

G4S sacked five members of staff. Three others are currently suspended. The director of the unit, Ralph Marchant, also stepped down at the end of January.

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