Exclusive: Figures hint at rise of children in jail for Asbo breaches

Over 700 young people have been jailed for offences involving
Asbo breaches since April last year, according to figures released
by the Youth Justice Board, writes Maria

The YJB’s custodial placement records reveal that 373
under-18s were jailed between April to December last year, and 328
between January and June this year.

The figures follow initial research published by the YJB earlier
this year that suggested the Board’s target for reducing the
juvenile prison population by 10 per cent by 2006 could be
“under pressure” from the number of Asbos that were
being imposed and breached.

The YJB’s figures indicate a huge rise from the latest
Home Office figures published last week that showed that 179
juveniles were jailed for breaching Asbos from April 1999 to
December 2003. Out of these, 30 were jailed for breaching Asbos
without any other offence.

The YJB cautioned against a “crude” comparison of
the Board’s figures with the Home Office figures.

A spokesperson said: “Our data doesn’t go into
enough detail to tell us who got custody solely for breaching an
Asbo as their primary offence and who got custody for Asbo breach
alongside other offences.”

The YJB’s custodial placement figures are routinely
collected from youth offending teams and courts, but the Board only
began to request specific information on Asbo breaches in April
last year after concerns that they could be leading to a rise in
young people going to prison.

The most recent Home Office figures showed that the number of
Asbos issued to 10-17 year-olds more than doubled from 514 in 2003
to 1,063 in 2004.

The YJB are currently examining their records in depth as part
of a study on Asbos to be published in the autumn.

The Home Office said it would not comment on the YJB’s
figures as no detailed information on the cases was yet

The Association of Youth Offending Team Managers said they were
currently looking at how many young people were being jailed solely
for breaching Asbos.


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