Plans for new youth sentences on table

Campaigners have given a mixed reception to plans to reform community punishments for young offenders, announced in last week’s Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill.

The bill would introduce a generic community sentence for young offenders, bringing together several existing sentences. Under the proposed youth rehabilitation order, the courts would be able to choose from a menu of different sanctions, including drug or mental health treatment, curfews, education, and in more serious cases, intensive fostering or intensive supervision and surveillance. Under the latter, offenders are typically tagged and placed on intensive rehabilitation programmes.

Paul Cavadino, chief executive of crime reduction charity Nacro, said there was a risk courts might turn to custody after a single youth rehabilitation order had failed, rather than trying different options, but said the order improved on previous generic sentences proposed by the government.

But Howard League for Penal Reform director Frances Crook said the justice system was already too complicated enough without introducing more laws.

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Simeon Brody

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