Youth custody total falls by nine per cent

The number of young people in custody has dropped by more than
nine per cent since October last year, according to the Youth
Justice Board’s annual review, writes Clare

The use of custody rose to a peak in October 2002 as a result of
the ‘street crime initiative’, which was a clampdown on youth crime
such as mobile phone theft. But since then numbers declined
levelling off between January and March this year with a
population of 2,874, which was more than 300 young people less than
its peak of 3,188.

Charles Pollard, acting chairperson of the YJB, attributed the
reduction in custody to the Intensive supervision and surveillance
programmes on which 4,187 young people were placed during 2002 and

“The reduction in the numbers in custody is a tribute to
the confidence youth offending teams have inspired in the courts,
who are now well aware of the robust Intensive supervision and
surveillance programme available for suitable young
offenders,” he said.

The home office has a public service agreement to achieve a
reduction in reconviction rates for juveniles of 5 per cent by 2004
compared with the ‘predicted’ rate based on 1997

But the report highlights there has been a 22.5 per cent
reduction in re-offending against predicted rates for those
receiving community punishments. The largest reduction has been
achieved with offenders subject to reprimands and final warnings,
indicating that early intervention is proving effective.

The YJB said it is working with other agencies to work out the
implications of a high court ruling last November that the Children
Act 1989 should apply in young offender institutions.

YJB annual review

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