Fall in number of young people entering criminal justice system

The number of young people entering the criminal justice system fell over the past year, according to official figures published today.

Some 10,000 fewer young people in England received a first reprimand, warning or sentence in a criminal court in 2007-8 compared with the year before.

There was a 7% drop in 10 to 17-year-olds entering the system from 103,955 in 2006-7 to 93,601 in 2007-8, the figures from the Police National Computer and Youth Justice Board showed.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said there had been a reduction in both the number and rate of cases in all regions of England in the last year.

Children’s minister Beverley Hughes claimed the downward trend was due to progress in schemes including Sure Start children’s centres and extended schools. “These figures show our policies are working because the number of first-time entrants is dropping,” she said.

The Youth Justice Board said the figures showed it had achieved a 10% reduction in first time entrants to the youth justice system in 2007-8 compared with 2005-6, exceeding the board’s target of 5%.

YJB chair Frances Done (pictured) said the drop in first-time entrants had been achieved through by successful joint partnership working between the YJB, police, youth offending teams and agencies based in local authorities.

The YJB also published part of an ongoing evaluation today of the 120 youth inclusion programmes working with young people at risk in deprived areas. It found “mixed” results, with programmes meeting a target on engaging 8-17-year-olds but falling short on improving contact time, arrest rates and getting young people in education, training or employment.

More information

Full figures

Youth inclusion programmes evaluation

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