Young offenders are “warehoused” and “left languishing in
overcrowded secure accommodation”, according to the lord chief
justice, writes Clare Jerrom.
Lord Woolf said that punishment for street crime and violence
needs to be “robust”, and it is vitally important that “young
offenders acknowledge and recognise their accountability for the
suffering of their victim as a consequence of their actions”.
But, due to the pressures on the prison service and lack of
resources, a custodial sentence “will not achieve the intended long
term change we need”, he told a London conference organised by the
Michael Sieff Foundation.
His comments were made as two 16-year-old brothers were cleared
of the murder of Damilola Taylor, who died in November 2000 on a
housing estate in Peckham, south London. The 10-year-old died from
a wound to his leg, and it was alleged the boys had stabbed him
with a piece of glass, but they denied murder, manslaughter and
assault with intent to rob.
Woolf told the conference that 76 per cent of males, and 58 per
cent of women under 21 re-offend within two years of being
“This is a terrible indictment of the system and we must find
ways to break the repetitive cycle,” he said.