Government sets out plans for youth justice system

Legislation to establish a new Intensive Supervision and
Surveillance Order as a robust alternative to custody for serious
or persistent offenders will be introduced, the government
announced last week in its response to the consultation on
‘Youth Justice – The Next Steps’,
writes Clare Jerrom.

Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programmes are already
available but they are given as a condition of a court order and
the move, outlined in the response published at the same time as
the Children Bill, is aimed at making the structure clearer and
more straightforward.

The government believes that preventing offending is the main
purpose of a sentence imposed by a court on a juvenile for a
criminal offence and will legislate to clarify this in law.
However, courts will also be required to take into account other
factors including welfare, public protection, punishment and

The Detention and Training Order will be retained. Currently,
12-14 year olds have to be deemed both serious and persistent
offenders to warrant receiving a DTO, but the government will amend
this so that courts can impose DTO’s on this group for
serious or persistent offending, although the maximum term will
drop from 24 to 12 months.

The government wants to work with the Youth Justice Board to
continue to make improvements to the juvenile secure estate.
Self-contained units to separate under-18 girls from adult women
will also be developed and the government proposes to legislate to
treat 17-year-olds on remand and bail as juveniles rather than
adults, as is currently the case.

Legislation to enable the government to vary the core membership
of youth offending teams to ensure there was flexibility to deal
with changing circumstances will be forthcoming and as a result,
housing may be added to the core membership. Yots can also operate
within Children’s Trusts “where that makes sense

Yots and the YJB will also be tasked with preventing antisocial
behaviour. The government’s response to the consultation
‘Every Child Matters’ outlined that the Child Safety
Order, which allows intervention to address antisocial behaviour
among children under the age of 10, has been amended so that when
terms of the order are breached, action taken is more

All the planned action will depend on resources and
parliamentary time.


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