Government sets out programme of new juvenile justice measures

Legislation will be introduced to establish an intensive
supervision and surveillance order as an alternative to custody for
serious or persistent young offenders, the government announced
last week.

The new ISSOs will be one of four community sentences available to
courts and will be similar to intensive supervision and
surveillance programmes. Programmes combine community-based
surveillance with a focus on tackling offending behaviour and are
non-custodial. However, they are currently available only as part
of another court order.

The changes are outlined in the government’s response to its
consultation on youth justice published alongside the Children Bill
last week.

The response says that preventing offending is the main purpose of
a custodial sentence imposed by a court on a juvenile for a
criminal offence and will legislate to clarify this. However,
courts will also be required to have regard to other factors
including welfare, public protection, punishment and

Detention and training orders, under which juveniles spend half
their sentence in custody and half in the community, will be
retained. Currently, 12 to 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 the order
on this group of children for either serious or persistent
offending. The maximum term for an order will be reduced from 24 to
12 months.

The government’s response also highlights its intention to work
with the Youth Justice Board to improve the juvenile secure estate.

Self-contained units to separate young women under 18 from adult
women will be developed and the government proposes to legislate to
treat 17 year olds on remand and on bail as juveniles rather than

There will also be legislation to enable the government to vary the
core membership of youth offending teams to ensure flexibility to
deal with changing circumstances. As a result, professionals from
the housing sector may be added to the core membership, the
response says. Yots will also be able to operate within children’s
trusts “where that makes sense locally”.

In addition, Yots and the YJB will have the task of preventing
antisocial behaviour.

Under the Children Bill, young offenders institutions will have a
new duty to safeguard children. The bill also removes the current
power to take children in breach of a child safety order into care
at a lower threshold than allowed by the Children Act 1989. It also
extends the maximum duration of the order to 12 months in normal

All planned action will depend on resources and parliamentary

– Youth Justice – The Next Steps: Summary of Responses and the
Government’s Proposals available at

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