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  1. 1. Children in Prison By Mrs Hilton
  2. 2. Learning Objectives • To clear up grey areas of Youth sentencing • To look at very latest data and facts • To get a broader view of youth sentencing by having a look at some perspectives of the system
  3. 3. Youth Crime Framework • Both adult and youth crime frameworks are based upon the principle of proportionality, introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 1991, but this principle is modified within the youth justice system. • When sentencing the court takes the following principles into consideration: – Regard to the prevention of offending – Regard to the welfare of the child – Sentencing must reflect the seriousness of the offending
  4. 4. Court principals can cause problems • Tensions can arise between these principles, as a sentence that concentrates heavily on prevention of offences by imposing greater penalties will not necessarily be best for the welfare of the child or reflect the seriousness of the crime.
  5. 5. Principal aim • Principle aim of the youth justice system Section 37 of the Criminal Justice Act 1998 introduced 2 statutory aims: 1. To prevent offending by children and young persons 2. It is the duty of all persons and bodies carrying out functions for the youth justice system to have regard to aim 1.
  6. 6. 3 points of Principal aim • Achieving this statutory aim is not straight forward. There are 3 main points: – A severe sentence can not be given to prevent offending where it does not reflect the seriousness of the crime. – Judicial Studies Board points out intervention designed to prevent offending and help the child grow into a responsible adult is in fact promoting that young persons welfare. – Severe sentencing such as custodial sentences, effectively prevents crime in the short run, but in the long run will increase the chances of the child relapsing into crime.
  7. 7. The Welfare principle Section 44 of the Children and Young persons Act 1933 states that: – 'Every court… shall have regard to the welfare of the child or young person…' • This is reinforced more recently by the United Nations' quot;Convention on the Rights of the Childquot;. • The welfare principle may consider the interference with a young persons educational or work commitments and to be consistent with his or her religious beliefs.
  8. 8. The principle of proportionality • The sentencing framework introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 1991 – now contained in the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 - is based on the notion of 'just deserts '. It depends on the idea that: – 'the sentence for a given offence should reflect primarily the seriousness of the offence which has been committed'
  9. 9. 3 Sentencing bands • Legislation to achieve this establishes thresholds that must be reached before certain penalties are deployed, known as the '3 sentencing bands', shown below: • 1. Custodial sentence • '(a) that the offence, or the combination of the offence and one or more offences associated with it, was so serious that only such a sentence can be justified for the offence; or • (b) where the offence is a violent or sexual offence, that only such a sentence would be adequate to protect the public from serious harm from him '. • A custodial sentence may also be imposed if a young person refuses to co- operate with a community sentence. • 2. Community sentence • 'offence, or the combination of the offence and one or more offence associated with it, was serious enough to warrant such a sentence '. • 3. Lower-level order • When neither the custody or community penalty thresholds are met. This composes of a discharge, financial penalty or reparation order.
  10. 10. Conclusion • The sentencing process for children and young people involves a complex interplay between 3 principles: proportionality; the prevention of offending; and the welfare of the child. While there is potential for these elements to clash, a sensitive balance can be achieved which gives an appropriate weighting to each. In general terms, the principle of proportionality establishes the appropriate programme to be imposed on a young offender. • Providing that the prevention of youth crime is treated as a longer-term aim, welfare, proportionality and the reduction of offending will be the likely outcome.
  11. 11. Young People and Prison: The Facts How many children and young people are in prison? There are 11,133 prisoners under the age of 21 in England and Wales. How many children (under 17's) are in prison? There are 2,320 15 to 17 year olds in prison and 233 in Secure Training Centres. In addition to this there are 213 10-14 year olds locked up in Local Authority Secure Childrens' Homes.
  12. 12. What is the youngest age you can be locked up? Despite the requirement of international law that prison should be a last resort for children, children as young as 12 can now be jailed, if they commit an offence which would be punishable by prison if committed by an adult. Following the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998, the Home Secretary has the power to lower the age of detention to 10 years old.
  13. 13. What crimes are they sentenced for? Almost half the children in prison have been convicted of non-violent offences. More children are in prison for robbery than any other offence. Sentencing for children is becoming harsher - in 1992 only 100 children under 15 were sentenced to custody, all had committed what were defined as 'grave crimes'. In 2003/4 794 under 15s were imprisoned, yet only 45 of these had committed the same definition of 'grave crimes‘.
  14. 14. How much does it cost? It costs £50,800 per year to send someone to a Young Offenders Institution, £164,750 to send a child to a Secure Training Centre and £185,780 to place a child in a Local Authority Secure Children's Home.
  15. 15. Does it work? Reconviction rates are extremely high for children. Over eight out of ten boys under 18 who were released from prison were reconvicted within two years.
  16. 16. Categories of age • 21 and older is adult • Young Offender 18-20 • Young People (juvenile offenders) 15 - 17
  17. 17. Young Offender • A young offender is someone who is aged between 18 and 20. • Prison life for a young offender held in a Young Offenders Institution (or YOI) isn't that different to prison life for adult prisoners, however there are some differences in the way YOIs are run.
  18. 18. Young people • Secure Training Centres • Local Authority Secure Children’s homes • Young offender institution
  19. 19. Secure Training Centres (STCs) • STCs are purpose-built centres for young offenders up to the age of 17. They are run by private operators according to Home Office contracts, which set out detailed operational requirements. There are now four STCs in England. • STCs house vulnerable young people who are sentenced to custody in a secure environment where they can be educated and rehabilitated. They have a minimum of three staff members to eight trainees. They are smaller in size in YOIs, which means that individual's needs can be met more easily. • The regimes in STCs are constructive and education-focused. They provide tailored programmes for young offenders that give them the opportunity to develop as individuals which, in turn, will help stop them reoffending. Trainees are provided with formal education 25 hours a week, 50 weeks of the year.
  20. 20. Read • Second child Jail a huge mistake
  21. 21. Local Authority Secure Children’s Homes • Local Authority Secure Children's Homes (LASCHs) focus on attending to the physical, emotional and behavioural needs of the young people they accommodate. They are run by local authority social services departments, overseen by the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills. • LASCHs provide young people with support tailored to their individual needs. To achieve this, they have a high ratio of staff to young people and are generally small facilities, ranging in size from six to 40 beds. • LASCHs are generally used to accommodate young offenders aged 12 to 14, girls up to the age of 16, and 15 to 16-year-old boys who are assessed as vulnerable.
  22. 22. Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) • Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) are facilities run by the Prison Service. They accommodate 15 to 21-year-olds. The Youth Justice Board is only responsible for placing young people under 18 years of age in secure accommodation. Consequently, some of these institutions accommodate older young people than STCs and LASCHs. The Board commissions and purchases places for under-18s, who are held in discrete juvenile wings.
  23. 23. Read • Jail Boss Resigns over conditions