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Future developments in the children's secure estate

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Presentation for Birkbeck seminar on youth justice

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Future developments in the children's secure estate

  1. 1. Future developments in the children’s secure estate Andrew Neilson, Assistant Director (Public Affairs and Policy)
  2. 2. What is the current picture? <ul><li>As of December 2010, there were 1918 children in custody </li></ul><ul><li>1811 boys and 107 girls </li></ul><ul><li>466 children on remand </li></ul>
  3. 3. How does this compare to last year? <ul><li>2,178 children in prison a year ago – so a drop of 260 since December 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Drops in the numbers of both boys and girls </li></ul><ul><li>In terms of sentence type, the biggest drop is in those sentenced to Detention and Training Orders, from 1,208 to 1,058 </li></ul><ul><li>The use of custodial remand has increased from 8% in 08/09 to 10% in 09/10 </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why the drop? <ul><li>The million dollar question! </li></ul><ul><li>More community sentencing and diversion? </li></ul><ul><li>Death of the ‘respect agenda’? </li></ul><ul><li>Shift in police targets? </li></ul>
  5. 5. A reminder: the types of secure accommodation <ul><li>Young Offender Institutions (YOI): run by prison service and private providers (£60,000 a year) </li></ul><ul><li>Secure training centres (STC): private providers (£160,000 a year) </li></ul><ul><li>Secure children’s homes (SCH): local authority-run (£215,000 a year) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Population March 2009 – March 2010 by accommodation <ul><li>YOIs: 1,512 (2010) 1,791 (2009) </li></ul><ul><li>STCs: 246 (2010) 234 (2009) </li></ul><ul><li>SCHs: 160 (2010) 153 (2009) </li></ul>
  7. 7. A reminder: some of the key facts about children in prison <ul><li>Two out of five girls and one out of four boys in prison report violence at home </li></ul><ul><li>One in three girls and one in 20 boys in custody have histories of sexual abuse </li></ul><ul><li>40% of children in prison have been homeless </li></ul>
  8. 8. Prison fails children <ul><li>Over a third of children report feeling unsafe in custody </li></ul><ul><li>In 2009, 75% of children leaving custody were reconvicted within a year, the highest for any age group </li></ul><ul><li>Falling numbers should be welcomed </li></ul>
  9. 9. Prison is disproportionate and damaging <ul><li>45% of children in custody have committed or are accused of committing non-violent offences </li></ul><ul><li>13% of children in custody are there for a breach of an order </li></ul><ul><li>There were 6,904 ‘reported’ incidents of restraint in the last year alone </li></ul><ul><li>Rates of self harm are not improving – 5 incidents per 100 children </li></ul>
  10. 10. New government: new dawn? <ul><li>The new Coalition government has already made two important decisions on the youth justice system </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibility for youth justice returned to MoJ solely </li></ul><ul><li>Youth Justice Board to be abolished and functions ‘brought within’ Ministry of Justice </li></ul>
  11. 11. Impact so far on secure estate <ul><li>YOIs have been rerolled….but the same proportion (83%) of children are still in them </li></ul><ul><li>STC contracts up for renewal </li></ul><ul><li>More secure children home closures </li></ul><ul><li>What might be the upsides and the downsides of this? </li></ul>
  12. 12. The devolution debate <ul><li>Initially floated by figures such as former Justice Sectretary Jack Straw and Martin Narey, the former CEO of Barnardos </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘perverse incentives’ of the current system </li></ul>
  13. 13. What might be the pros and cons of devolution? <ul><li>Explored in ‘To devolve or not to devolve?’ by the Howard League for Penal Reform </li></ul><ul><li>Other explorations: The Standing Committee for Youth Justice, Policy Exchange, Prison Reform Trust </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Coalition view? <ul><li>The Ministry of Justice green paper on sentencing covers youth justice </li></ul><ul><li>Looking to test “how we can enable local areas to share in financial savings and risks resulting from the use of youth custody” </li></ul><ul><li>And “test how financial incentives to local areas can be used to reduce demand on the criminal justice system” </li></ul><ul><li>Explore how YOTs and “secure accommodation providers could move to a payment by results model” </li></ul>
  15. 15. What might be the pros and cons of payment by results? <ul><li>An adult example: Peterborough and the social impact bond </li></ul><ul><li>A youth justice example: Project Daedalus and the Heron unit, Feltham YOI </li></ul>
  16. 16. Other changes afoot <ul><li>Coalition keen to simplify out of court disposals and increase the use of restorative justice </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce the use of remands and the use of sentences involving indefinite detention for public protection (DPP) </li></ul><ul><li>Driven by need to cut spending in criminal justice: but what about cuts elsewhere? </li></ul>
  17. 17. What we would like to see <ul><li>Raising the age of criminal responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Abolish the short prison sentence – DTO – for children </li></ul><ul><li>The abolition of ‘prison custody’ for children – ie. YOIs and privately run STCs </li></ul><ul><li>A welfare model </li></ul>
  18. 18. Thank you <ul><li>www.howardleague.org </li></ul>

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