Children at risk of imprisonment for breaching asbos, report finds

Almost half of children given antisocial behaviour orders have
breached the orders, leaving them at risk of being put in prison, a
new report has revealed, writes Maria


Probation union Napo found that 39 per cent of 10-15 year-olds
and 38 per cent of 16-17 year-olds breached asbos between 2000 and
2001, according to the most recent Home Office figures.

Napo’s report on the use of asbos also showed that the
number of orders imposed on young people has almost doubled year on
year since they came into force in 1999.

The union raised concerns over figures showing that a total of
622 asbos were given to 10-15 year olds and 555 to 16-17 year-olds
between June 2000 and March 2004.

Many young people were receiving custodial sentences where the
original offence was not imprisonable, the report found, resulting
in the “abuse” of custody.

“Asbos are being used against young people whose behaviour
may be antisocial but not necessarily threatening. It is being used
to deal with nuisance which could be dealt with in other
ways,” the report says.

Napo is now calling for an urgent Home Office review into the
use of Asbos.

* The union has collected a number of case studies over the last
12 months. Here are some examples:-

1. Earlier this year an application was made in Manchester for
an ASBO on a female prostitute.  It was alleged she was causing a
nuisance in Manchester by accosting men and generally causing
offence.  The magistrates agreed to an ASBO.  One of its conditions
was that she was prohibited from carrying condoms within the given
area.  Unfortunately her drug clinic was within the restricted area
and one of the services it provided was the provision of free
condoms as part of its harm-reduction strategy.  She has now
breached the order, has been put on probation and is facing the
possibility of prison.

2. In May 2003 a 19-year-old was banned from entering his own
home on his release from prison. (source – Statewatch

3. In October 2004, a profoundly deaf girl was served an order
for spitting in public. Having broken it she is currently in prison
on remand. (source – Statewatch ASBOwatch)

4. In October 2004, a 15-year-old was served an order for
playing football in the street. (source – Statewatch

5. A 17-year-old Birmingham youth as been banned from travelling
on the top deck of buses.  The conditions of his ASBO are that he
cannot travel on a bus unless he sits where the driver and other
passengers can see him. (source –BBC News)








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