Home office defends custodial policy

The government has denied that high rates of custody for  young
people are the result of its policies on youth justice.
Home Office minister Hilary Benn, speaking at a conference
organised by rehabilitation agency Nacro, said that the range of
community-based penalties available to the courts showed that the
government did not want to lock up children. He said a custodial
sentence should be the last resort for young offenders.
Nacro director of crime reduction Keith Towler said that more
children were locked up in England and Wales than in any
neighbouring European countries, adding that in 90 per cent of
cases custody led to more rather than less offending.

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