Increasing numbers of young prisoners could be placed with older inmates because of overcrowding, the Youth Justice Board has warned.
As latest figures show the number of under-18s in custody reached 2,992 in September – 228 more than at the same time last year, Ellie Roy, chief executive of the YJB, has admitted the increase is leading to “severe” pressure on young offender institutions.
While Roy said the YJB wanted under-18s to be held in accommodation designed for juveniles, she said they could be placed with young adults aged 18-21 “in extreme circumstances” due to high demand for places.
Concerns have also been raised over the number of young adults being placed in adult prisons rather than in YOIs.
This week, Home Office minister Fiona McTaggart said the government was considering the commencement of legislation to abolish the sentence of detention in young offender institutions for young adults and developing a strategy for young adult prisoners.