The central thrust of our campaign to help young offenders has been
to help get their lives Back on Track. Crucial to this goal are a
dramatic reduction in the number of children and young people held
in custody and better standards of treatment for those for whom
custody is essential.
Our new research, commissioned by Community Care from the Prison
Reform Trust, shows what is wrong with the prison system. Focused
on young adult offenders, the research reveals the extent to which
the containment of prisoners takes precedence over their other
For the under-18s, the Youth Justice Board has at least begun to
civilise the prison system. Care and control can be made to go hand
in hand. But it will not help that there has been a rapid rise in
the numbers of young people jailed because they have breached
antisocial behaviour orders.
Our campaign has highlighted the deep-laid contradictions in
government policy. Until there is a more positive climate for
rehabilitation, the greatest contradiction of all will persist:
three-quarters of younger prisoners will reoffend.