children could come into contact with the criminal justice system under
proposals outlined in the criminal justice white paper, The Howard League for
Penal Reform warned last week.
The white paper Justice for All,
published last week, proposes that more use be made of intensive fostering as
an alternative to custody.
It also proposes extending foster remand
arrangements to include supervised foster placements for persistent young
offenders on bail, so they can maintain links with their school, family and
Charlotte Day, policy officer at The Howard
League for Penal Reform, warned that while intensive fostering was a positive
step if it was used as an alternative to custody, there was a danger that the
proposed change could have a "net widening effect".
She said:"It could be used for children
who otherwise wouldn’t go into custody and bring more and more children into
the ambit of the criminal justice system. Care has to be taken that it is used
only as a last resort for people who need to be taken away from home."
The paper states that intensive fostering
would be particularly suitable for the 10 and 11-year-old persistent offenders
who are bailed by the court only to offend again and for whom custodial options
are only available in exceptional circumstances.
It suggests that social services departments
could have a greater role in protecting the community and the children. Under a
new remand process, criminal courts would be able to order them to report back
to them within 48 hours, stating where it would place a child, should the child
be remanded into its care.
Another white paper proposal is compulsory
parenting classes for young offenders in an effort to break the cycle of
"intergenerational offending". A quarter of young offenders in
custody are parents or about to become parents. Boys with criminal parents are
four and a half times more likely to offend.
In addition, legislation will be brought
forward to strengthen the action plan order, a short intensive community-based
The extended action plan order will include
additional options of curfews, intensive fostering, residence requirements, and
intensive supervision and surveillance, and will be available for up to 12
– Justice for All from: www.cjsonline.org/library/pdf/CJS_whitepaper.pdf
Review proposes wiping records
offenders convicted of "minor and non-persistent" crime could have
their records wiped clean at the age of 18 for employment purposes following
recommendations made in a review of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
clean sheet would be applied on or after an individual reaches the age of 18,
provided any convictions before the age of 18 were minor and a specified period
of time had elapsed in which there had been no further convictions. The review
also suggests reduced periods of disclosure to employers.
the clean sheet arrangement would not apply to jobs requiring enhanced
disclosure, such as working with vulnerable people.
review is open to public consultation until 13 September.
Breaking the Circle from www.homeoffice.gov.uk/roareview/breakcircle.pdf
Poll rates councils’ safety priorities
antisocial behaviour is seen as the most important issue in promoting community
safety, according to a survey of local authorities.
by the Local Government Association found that 53 per cent of local authorities
considered antisocial behaviour to be one of the three most important issues.
Youth crime was second, with 37 per cent, and domestic burglary third with 36
research was published last week as the government announced its plans to
extend the range of antisocial behaviour orders.
Justice for All white paper proposes the introduction of individual
support orders for young people with ASBOs, meaning they must undertake
counselling or educational activities.
also proposes a more informal acceptable behaviour contract, under which a
police officer and the local authority housing department would meet with a
young person and their family to agree a contract on how the individual should
of authorities have already applied for ASBOs while many others said the mere
threat of an order has resolved problems, the LGA reported. Metropolitan
authorities were the most likely to seek an order, with two thirds making an
application for at least one order and 15 per cent applying for at least five.
authorities were most likely to have an antisocial behaviour policy in place
(74 per cent), with district councils the least likely (49 per cent).
Tackling Anti-social Behaviour: Information and Case Studies about Local
Authority Work from: www.lga.gov.uk