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Youth Custody

Published Thursday, May 2, 2019

Children remanded or sentenced to custody are placed in a Young Offenders Institution, a Secure Training Centre or a Secure Children’s Home. Concerns have been raised about the current provision of youth custody, The Government has accepted proposals to introduce secure schools.

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In England and Wales children (those aged under 18) remanded to custody or sentenced to custody are placed in one of three types of institution: a Young Offenders Institution (YOI), a Secure Training Centre (STC) or a Secure Children’s Home (SCH). In 2018, 70% of those in youth custody were placed in a YOI, 19% in an STC and 12% in a SCH. In the year ending March 2019, there were an average of 868 under-18-year-olds in youth custody at the end of any given month. Around a quarter of the youth custody population in 2018 was being held on remand. The remainder had been sentenced to custody.

Concerns have been raised about the current provision of youth custody, including about safety, child protection, the use of restraint and force including the use of pain inducing techniques, segregation of children away from others, a lack of purposeful activity and time out of cells, the disproportionate number of BAME children in custody, and the distance away from home that children are sometimes held.

The previous Government initiated a review of youth justice in 2016. Charlie Taylor’s review included proposals for the reform of youth custody by the introduction of secure schools. The Government has accepted this proposal and has started implementation with the creation of the first secure school on the site of the current Medway STC. Interested groups have raised concerns about the model of secure schools and about the use of the Medway site.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8557

Authors: Jacqueline Beard; Georgina Sturge

Topic: Prisons

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