New alternative to youth custody

The Home Office has launched a £45 million intensive
supervision and surveillance programme to stem the numbers of young
offenders receiving custodial sentences.

Under the initiative a young offender serving an ISSP will be
subject to 24 hours a day, seven days a week intensive surveillance
and can be monitored by electronic tagging and voice

Young offenders can also be tracked by intelligence-led policing
and advocate schemes where they are supervised by dedicated police
and youth offending teams staff.

The programme will be managed by the Youth Justice Board for
England and Wales and will also include individually tailored
packages of reparation, training and education measures.

The programme will target the most prolific young offenders in
41 schemes across England and Wales, 22 of which go live this month
with 19 coming on stream in October.

Launching the programme home secretary David Blunkett said:
“Reforming youth justice offers no ‘soft options’ – intensive
supervision will ensure that persistent young offenders are not
just punished but also made to take responsibility for their

Youth Justice Board chairperson Lord Warner said for the first
time the courts had a highly structured comprehensive alternative
to custodial sentences.

He told Community Care: “What we do not want is a large number
of social workers complaining about tagging in ISSPs because the
alternative for young offenders is to lock them up.”

Howard League for Penal Reform policy officer Charlotte Day
commented: “We give the ISSP a cautious welcome if it is used as a
genuine alternative to custody. The danger is whenever a new
community sentence is introduced as an alternative to custody it is
used for less serious offenders who would not be in danger of going
to prison.”

At the launch of the Youth Justice Board’s annual review, Home
Office junior minister for community and custodial sentences
Beverley Hughes said the board had made strong progress in
reforming regimes for young offenders.

Lord Warner added: “The really significant achievement for the
board is the introduction of the assessment scheme Asset. For the
first time people across the UK are assessing young offenders needs
on the same system.”

Youth Justice Board Review 2000/2001, Delivering Change from 020
7271 3033

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