Children at risk of imprisonment for breaching asbos, report finds

    Almost half of children given antisocial behaviour orders have
    breached the orders, leaving them at risk of being put in prison, a
    new report has revealed, writes Maria


    Probation union Napo found that 39 per cent of 10-15 year-olds
    and 38 per cent of 16-17 year-olds breached asbos between 2000 and
    2001, according to the most recent Home Office figures.

    Napo’s report on the use of asbos also showed that the
    number of orders imposed on young people has almost doubled year on
    year since they came into force in 1999.

    The union raised concerns over figures showing that a total of
    622 asbos were given to 10-15 year olds and 555 to 16-17 year-olds
    between June 2000 and March 2004.

    Many young people were receiving custodial sentences where the
    original offence was not imprisonable, the report found, resulting
    in the “abuse” of custody.

    “Asbos are being used against young people whose behaviour
    may be antisocial but not necessarily threatening. It is being used
    to deal with nuisance which could be dealt with in other
    ways,” the report says.

    Napo is now calling for an urgent Home Office review into the
    use of Asbos.

    * The union has collected a number of case studies over the last
    12 months. Here are some examples:-

    1. Earlier this year an application was made in Manchester for
    an ASBO on a female prostitute.  It was alleged she was causing a
    nuisance in Manchester by accosting men and generally causing
    offence.  The magistrates agreed to an ASBO.  One of its conditions
    was that she was prohibited from carrying condoms within the given
    area.  Unfortunately her drug clinic was within the restricted area
    and one of the services it provided was the provision of free
    condoms as part of its harm-reduction strategy.  She has now
    breached the order, has been put on probation and is facing the
    possibility of prison.

    2. In May 2003 a 19-year-old was banned from entering his own
    home on his release from prison. (source – Statewatch

    3. In October 2004, a profoundly deaf girl was served an order
    for spitting in public. Having broken it she is currently in prison
    on remand. (source – Statewatch ASBOwatch)

    4. In October 2004, a 15-year-old was served an order for
    playing football in the street. (source – Statewatch

    5. A 17-year-old Birmingham youth as been banned from travelling
    on the top deck of buses.  The conditions of his ASBO are that he
    cannot travel on a bus unless he sits where the driver and other
    passengers can see him. (source –BBC News)








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