Anti-social adults to be sent to 'sin bins', says respect tsar

Marie Woolf
The Independent
Nov. 06, 2006

People who repeatedly flout anti-social behaviour laws should be housed in "sin bins" where they will be subjected to curfews and a tough set of rules governing how they live, according to the Government's anti-social behaviour chief.

Louise Casey, who heads the Respect taskforce, wants to extend family intervention projects to single people who have extremely "chaotic" lifestyles.

In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, Ms Casey said that she believed that the expensive boarding-school style regimes were the answer to breaking the cycle of antisocial behaviour.

The "sin bins" have been used for families with a history of making their neighbours' lives a misery. They are told to move out of their council houses into the secure accommodation. Critics say the centres are open prisons for people who have not been sentenced by the courts. But Ms Casey says she has seen evidence that the harsh, structured regime is effective.

"Family intervention projects - I really believe this is the approach that will work," she said. "It ain't cheap and it also isn't easy. They are quite tough. Basically it's the end of the road."

She said she was working with the social exclusion unit to develop the centres to take in single people. "The priority was to do families, because they have children, first. But we are working on doing something for chaotic adults where the same approach will be taken. Obviously we have to get these family intervention projects up and running first," she said.

Last week she met a former prostitute and drug user who had turned her life around after moving into an intervention centre. The woman, in Sheffield, was forced to observe an 8pm curfew with her young child, which was then extended to 9pm and later 10pm. She is now moving into her own flat after altering her lifestyle.

Ms Casey also said the Government is planning to extend parenting classes across the country. The classes will teach parents how to impose rules on their offspring and ensure they are properly fed, disciplined and go to school.

The announcement, in the coming weeks, will ensure that hundreds more parents - whose children have come in contact with the law or have behavioural problems - will be able to attend parenting courses. Compulsory parenting orders are to be imposed on families with tearaway children. "If you are not going to take parenting help then we are going to make you take parenting help," she said.

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