Number of young people in custody rises

The Home Office revealed today that almost 3,000 children and young people were locked up in England and Wales at the end of July.

The number of under-18s in prison rose 7 per cent from 31 July 2005 to 2,529 on 31 July 2006, while 233 children were detained in secure training centres and 229 in local authority secure children’s homes.

There was a 17 per cent rise in the number of under-18s in prison on remand and a 5 per cent increase in the number under sentence.

The news comes two weeks after the Youth Justice Board recommended that young offender institutions should consider compulsory cell-sharing and releasing more young offenders early from their sentences to counter an increase in the youth custody population.

At that time, the Howard League for Penal Reform claimed more than 3,000 children were locked up.

Today’s Home Office figures also showed that the number of young people in custody for violence against the person rose by almost a fifth, as did the number inside for robbery.

The total number of people in custody on 31 July was 3 per cent higher than a year earlier, at 79,319.

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