Government delivers on promise to streamline court process for young offenders

The government has delivered on its pledge to halve the time it
takes to deal with persistent young offenders, according to new
figures, writes Lauren Revans.

The youth justice pledge, announced in 1997 with a target date
of March 2002, was aimed at reducing the average time it takes to
get persistent young offenders into court from the time they were

In 1996, dealing with a persistent young offenders took an
average of 142 days, but new figures show that by June this year
this had been cut to 69 days.

Home secretary David Blunkett welcomed the news but warned
against complacency: “Some long running cases in the system may
cause the figures to rise again before they settle down. So
achieving the target is an important landmark, but we will need to
continue to work together to ensure that this progress is

Lord Warner, Youth Justice Board chairperson, said that
addressing offending behaviour more quickly made the system “more
just, more effective, and more efficient”.

“For defendants, speedier sentencing represents a reinforcement
of the link between the offence and its consequences,” Warner said.
“For victims and witnesses, faster processing brings a decrease in
uncertainty and increases the chances of a conviction.”

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