Responding to the government’s announcement on changes to the youth custodial estate (17 January), Penelope Gibbs, Chair of the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, said:
“The children who are locked up in our prisons have a range of very serious needs including mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, histories of abuse, trauma and violence. Simply focusing on education is misguided and will not address the underlying causes behind their offending that need to be tackled if children are to be turned away from a life of crime. A more holistic therapeutic model is needed rather than a gimmicky repackaging of our current costly and broken approach to child custody.
“Numbers of children in custody have been falling, and the government’s focus should be on ensuring further reductions so that only those children who are a genuine danger are placed in custody. The few children who need to be imprisoned should be in secure children’s homes local to them, not in a 320 capacity prison in the middle of the country.”
Notes to Editors
1.The Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) is a membership organisation campaigning for a better youth justice system. We have over 30 organisations as members, a full list can be found here
2. SCYJ’s response to the Government’s Transforming Youth Custody consultation can be found here