Organisations who work with young offenders warned the
government not to use children as a “weapon” in the
forthcoming general election, writes Maria
Speaking at a conference organised by Community Care
this week, Howard League for Penal Reform director Frances
criticised the government’s “obsession” with
antisocial behaviour and said there was “no need” for
further antisocial behaviour legislation.
Chair of the Youth Justice Board Rod Morgan also expressed
concerns about the naming and shaming of young offenders and
on-the-spot fines. He added that asbos were also inconsistently
applied across the UK.
At the conference, which marked the close of Back on Track
Campaign, organisations also raised deep concern about the number
of deaths in youth custody.
Morgan said the deaths of Gareth Myatt, Adam Rickwood, and
Joseph Scholes had sent “shockwaves” through the
criminal justice system.
He expressed concern about the “significant”
increase of young offenders with mental health problems in custody.
He called for more facilities to reduce the likelihood of suicide
and self-harm, highlighting a case at Stoke Health Young
Offenders’ Institute earlier this year where it took eight
months to transfer a young offender with “almost identical
characteristics” to Joseph Scholes to a psychiatric