Join us for our conference: Child friendly youth justice?

On Monday 25th September join us for a one-day youth justice conference, presented by youth justice experts the National Association for Youth Justice (NAYJ), the Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ), and the Centre for Community Gender and Social Justice at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge.

The conference will bring together academics, practitioners and policy makers to discuss the latest research, practice and policy thinking concerning child friendly youth justice.

We have unmissable keynote speakers lined up, including Charlie Taylor, Chair of the Youth Justice Board and author of the government-commissioned Taylor Review of the youth justice system; and academics specialising in youth justice including Professor Lesley McAra, Co-Director of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, and Professor Jo Pheonix, Chair in Criminology at the Open University.

To view the full agenda and session overviews, click here.

SCYJ responds to HMI Prisons Annual Report

The Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) has responded to HM Chief Inspector of Prisons’ Annual Report, published today. The Chief Inspector had concluded that no child custody institution was safe for children, and that the “speed of decline has been staggering”. He cautioned of “tragedy” if the situation was not resolved. In response, SCYJ Chair, Ali Wigzell, has said:

“The Chief Inspector of Prisons’ finding that not a single prison is safe to hold children is a damning indictment of the current system. The appalling conditions in Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) and Secure Training Centres (STCs) are a national scandal. The Chief Inspector has said that the situation will end in tragedy if nothing is done; we urge the Government to take urgent action to tackle this crisis before it is too late.

Today’s report confirms that YOIs and STCs are unsafe for children. As a matter of urgency, the government must implement its plans to increase resources in YOIs. Alongside, we urge the government to keep true to its endorsement of the Taylor Review’s vision of abolishing YOIs and STCs and publish its timetable for doing so immediately. A comprehensive plan for secure schools must now also be outlined, which learns the lessons from reports of existing institutions, particularly that YOIs and STCs are simply too large to hold children safely.”


Endorse our principles of criminal record reform!

SCYJ is urging organisations to endorse the principle of childhood criminal record reform – we want to show the government the breadth of support for changing the system and we’ll be making endorsers public in due course. To add your support to the principles set out below, email

The criminal records system in England and Wales is a barrier to the rehabilitation of children who have offended.

It is in society’s best interests for these children to be given every opportunity to become positive, contributing members of their community. Research shows that education, training, employment and housing can help children to free themselves from crime. Yet the criminal records framework hinders access to such services and stigmatises those who are trying to turn their lives around.

We need a criminal record system that is child-specific, fair and actively promotes the rehabilitation and reintegration of children who have offended. A reformed system can protect the public, without harming children’s opportunity to change.

Endorse these principles now by emailing with your support.