Over the last decade, the reformed youth justice system has seen increases in the numbers of children and young people in custody, a sharp rise in indeterminate sentences and the continuing deaths of young prisoners. The largest proportion of funding in youth justice at national level is spent on providing places for children and young people remanded and sentenced to custody.
The publication of the Youth Crime Action Plan during 2008 and the increasing emphasis on early intervention provides a framework to consider again the interface between local services and secure residential placements.
This report brings together contributions from leading experts on young people and criminal justice to critically examine current policy and practice. There are vital questions for both policy and practice on whether the use of custody reduces re-offending or whether other forms of residential placements are more effective long-term. The report looks at current approaches to the sentencing and custody of children and young people, prevention of re-offending and a range of alternative regimes.
For many practitioners and policy makers embracing the youth justice reforms in the United Kingdom in 1998, the potential for integrating education into offending behaviour work through the new Detention and Training Order (DTO) introduced by the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998 was greatly welcomed. Young people on DTOs are held in one of three types of institutions: young offender institutions; secure training centres; or secure children’s homes. This chapter explores the continuing limitations of the DTO nearly a decade into the youth justice reforms. Within this context, it makes a case for reviewing the purpose of the DTO, emphasising its link to education provision, while examining current policy changes within children’s services and the 14–19 education framework that may facilitate any evaluation of the DTO. With the development of early intervention, targeted provision and the raising of the statutory school age, careful consideration should be given to a new hybrid sentence that places education firmly at its centre. This is called the Education Placement Order.
The contributions in this book have raised important policy questions with respect to three overlapping areas: the suitability of the current custodial system for children and young people; the scope for more effective resettlement opportunities; and an examination of where accountability should reside for children and young people sent to custody. The youth justice reforms in the United Kingdom have undoubtedly delivered some improvements to youth custody over the last decade. It is recognised that young people in custody must have access to mainstream services, particularly health, substance misuse and education, with improved links to local safeguarding services. Despite a performance framework designed to hold local agencies to account from the centre, young people in the youth justice system remain the most marginalised. It is to be hoped that the new joint accountability for youth justice at national level and the clear messages about local authority responsibilities set out in the Youth Crime Action Plan will signal a new era for youth justice services.
This book is a collection of contributions from experts that examines government policy in the United Kingdom in relation to the incarceration of children and young people under eighteen years old. It remarks on the policy and direction of the government in the context of the ‘three track approach’ outlined in the Youth Crime Action Plan (YCAP), and reviews the aspirations of the Youth Justice Board (YJB) over the last decade in relation to its strategy for the children’s secure estate. It explores whether the outcomes that impact on youth offending may be more effectively driven by children’s services, particularly in relation to educational attainment. It also considers the purpose of secure establishments and asks who should be held responsible for bearing the cost of custody and the resettlement of children and young people back into the community. These themes are examined with regard to current sentencing practice and decisions about the release of young people from custody.