MPs seek ‘value for money’ custody

The Youth Justice Board was urged by MPs this week to commission
research into the cost-effectiveness of the three types of
establishment for young offenders in custody.

In a report, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has
called on the YJB to investigate cost-effectiveness “in terms of
re-offending rates and the welfare of the young person”.

A place in a local authority secure children’s home costs about
£185,000, compared with £164,750 a year in a
privately-run secure training centre and £50,800 a year in a
young offender institution.

The report also raises questions over the effectiveness of locking
children up in the first place, with eight out of 10 of the 7 per
cent of children sentenced to custody going on to re-offend. It
slams short periods in custody as “unlikely to make an impact on
offending behaviour”.

Committee chair Edward Leigh MP said he was also concerned about
the regional variation in the numbers of young offenders given
custodial sentences and the numbers returned to custody for failing
to complete intensive supervision and surveillance programme

Community Care’s Back on Track campaign is calling for a reduction
in the number of children in custody and for the greater use of
community sentences. 


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