Shake up of youth custody planned

Young offender institutions, secure training centres and local
authority secure children’s homes could be brought
“under one roof” with common standards in a shake-up of
youth custody, according to government proposals leaked to
Community Care, writes Maria Ahmed.

The plans are contained in the sentencing and youth justice
bill, which the Home Office has confirmed is likely to be published
in October.

The announcement has quashed fears that the youth justice bill,
originally announced last year, had been abandoned after it was not
mentioned in the Queen’s Speech in May.

The bill is likely to include proposals to establish intensive
supervision and surveillance orders (ISSOs) as an alternative to
custodial sentences, extend youth offending team functions,
introduce generic youth community orders and make the prevention of
re-offending the primary purpose of sentencing for young

Adult sentencing will also be contained in the bill, according
to the leaked proposals, which could fuel growing speculation over
the future of the management of offenders and sentencing bill
announced in the Queen’s Speech this year.

Youth justice campaigners said they hoped the proposals to
create common standards across YOIs, STCs and Laschs would drive up
the quality of care for young offenders.

Pauline Batstone, chair of the Association of Youth Offending
Team Managers, said the proposals would be “a chance to go
back to the drawing board”.

The Youth Justice Board said it would not comment on the
contents of the bill before it was published.

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