Study backs fear that Asbo policy will dash bid to cut prison numbers

Study backs fear that Asbo policy will dash bid to cut prison
numbers More than 700 young people have been jailed for offences
involving Asbo breaches since April last year, according to the
Youth Justice Board, writes Maria

Its records reveal that 373 under-18s were jailed between April and
December last year, and 328 between January and June this year.

The figures follow initial YJB research published this year, that
suggested its 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 on the latest Home Office
figures published last week that showed 179 juveniles jailed for
breaching Asbos from April 1999 to December 2003. Of these, 30 were
jailed for breaching Asbos without any other offence.

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

A spokeswoman said: “Our data do not 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

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 the number
of young people going to prison.

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

The YJB is examining its 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 available.

The Association of Youth Offending Team Managers said it was
investigating how many young people were being jailed solely for
breaching Asbos.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.