Overcrowding in juvenile estate goes beyond ‘serious turbulence’

The extent of overcrowding in the juvenile estate was
highlighted by the chairperson of the Youth Justice Board at its
annual conference, writes Clare

Lord Warner said the juvenile estate begins to suffer from ”
serious turbulence” when capacity reaches around 92 or 93 per cent.
At the end of October, the juvenile secure estate was at 97 per
cent capacity.

Around 600 young people have been moved around the estate since
mid June simply for overcrowding reasons, Warner told the
conference in London.

“We are also seeing around 20 young people a week identified as
vulnerable being placed into prison service custody when it is the
aim of the board to place such youngsters in alternative
accommodation – secure training centres or LASU’s (local
authority secure units) which are better placed to meet their needs
and respond to their often serious risk of self harm,” he said.

The point where ‘serious regime degradation will kick
in’ is approaching, he warned.

Far too many young people are in custody and the board continues
to encourage the courts to use the growing number of robust
community penalties available as alternatives to custody.

Meanwhile, a degree in youth justice is being developed over the
next two years as part of a new Youth Justice Board strategy.

The board’s new learning and development strategy aims to
give youth justice staff newly developed specific

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