Blast for ‘policy vacuum’ in prisons

Young adult prisoners are “languishing in a political and policy
vacuum” in many jails, a report has warned.

Research by the Howard League for Penal Reform, published last
week, finds that prison is failing to tackle the needs of 18- to
year-olds or reduce re-offending.

Nearly 70 per cent of young men who leave prison are reconvicted
within two years of their release and commit at least 8,500
offences a year, the report says.

It finds nearly one in five young men were homeless before going
into prison or after release, while more than half of young adults
had not been in work before prison.

About one-third of young men in prison were fathers or had a
pregnant partner or ex-partner, while nearly half reported mental
health needs.

The report says: “Imprisoning young men at this critical stage in
their lives can have a massively detrimental effect upon their
development and their future life chances. Alternatives to custody
should be sought in all possible cases.”

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