A substantial rise in the number of teenage boys in custody has increased pressure on Young Offender Institutions to transfer children in their care to adult prisons as soon as they turn 18.
The Youth Justice Board has warned that the rise over the last 12 months in the number of 15- to 17-year-old boys being remanded or sentenced to custody will also result in more boys being forced to share cells.
Predicting that the capacity situation was likely to get even worse over the next few months, the YJB called on the Prison Service to write to YOI governors to identify boys who had turned 18 and could be moved to the adult estate in order to make space for children entering the system.
“There is normally a summer peak in the population, which last year was eventually reached in October,” the YJB said. “As the rise in population began earlier this year, it is anticipated that the situation is likely to worsen before matters improve.”
The YJB also wants YOIs to identify boys who could be suitable for early release or for a place in a secure training centre or secure children’s home, where there is currently some capacity.