Legislation for a new sentencing framework for juveniles will be introduced by 2009, the Home Office revealed last week in a strategy to reduce re-offending.
There is as yet no detail on what the legislation might contain, but a Home Office spokesperson denied it would be part of the long-awaited Sentencing and Youth Justice Bill. She added that legislation on youth justice was intended for the current parliamentary session.
The five-year strategy also pledges to double the amount of unpaid work done by offenders and outlined new sentences combining prison with community services, known as Custody Plus, which will be introduced this autumn.
It also indicates that the government is to forge ahead with controversial plans to allow public, private and voluntary provides to compete to run prison and probation services.
The Home Office also said it would publish a full analysis next month of responses to its recent consultation on restructuring probation. This would include plans to make services contestable.
This week, probation union Napo alleged that only four out of 750 responses were supportive of the plans, and also claimed legislation to underpin the National Offender Management Service had been shelved, a charge the Home Office has denied.