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Locking up or giving up? Why custody thresholds for teenagers aged 12, 13 and 14 needs to be raised

Author : Jane Glover and Pam Hibbert (2009)

Price : Free

This report outlines the findings from an analysis of the cases of 214 children aged 12, 13 and 14 who were sentenced to a Detention and Training Order in 2007/8 (46% of the total for this age group).

The key findings demonstrate that the Government¿s intention that custody should only be used as a measure of ¿last resort¿ is not put into practice ¿ the research shows that 35% of the sample Barnardo¿s analysed did not meet the criteria for custody and that 22% of them were sent to custody for breaching a community penalty such as a supervision or anti social behaviour order. The research also looked at the background of these children in custody and found that half had experienced some sort of abuse; 22% were living in care and 8% had attempted suicide at some stage in their short lives. We are calling for: - strict sentencing rules which reflect the intention of Parliament and Government so that children aged 14 and under cannot be considered for custody unless they have committed a grave crime or unless they have committed a serious offence and are a persistent offender; combined with - a clear definition of persistency ¿ so that custody is reserved for those whose offending really merits it - a breach of a community based sentence never to result in a custody sentence for a child aged 14 or under unless there has been a serious or violent offence - a requirement in national standards for YOTs to support children to comply with conditions of community orders.

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Associated subjects and types

Policy and research documents, Campaign documents, Community development, Safeguarding and protection, Youth justice


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