Young offenders suffer unsuitable accommodation and disrupted education

Vulnerable young boys have been placed in unsuitable secure
accommodation while other young offenders have missed out on vital
education because of the pressure on the juvenile secure estate, a
National Audit Office report has warned, writes Clare

Capacity problems resulted in more vulnerable boys than usual
being placed in young offender institutions, and many transfers
between establishments which disrupted the young people’s

The pressure on places, which was particularly heavy in the
south east and Wales, resulted in 2,400 transfers between
establishments in April 2002 – January 2003.

Sir John Bourn, auditor general, warned that transfers could be
“unsettling” for young people “breaking
developing relationships with those responsible for their
supervision and disrupting educational and other programmes
intended to help prevent re-offending”.

Youth offending teams have also experienced difficulties finding
accommodation for young people.

In a report published at the same time, the Audit Commission
highlighted “considerable improvement” made in the
youth justice field, including the introduction of the
community-based Intensive supervision and surveillance

However, the report suggested that court time should be freed up
to focus on serious and persistent young offenders, with more minor
offences being dealt with by youth offender panels.

The commission calls for early intervention, and for greater use
of ISSP as an alternative to custody.

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