SCYJ responds to Taylor Review & government response

The Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) has responded to Charlie Taylor’s review of the youth justice system in England and Wales, and the government’s response.

Mr Taylor was asked to lead a review of the youth justice system for the Ministry of Justice in September 2015. The report of his review was published in December 2016 alongside the government’s response to his proposed reforms.

SCYJ has now published its full response to both the review and the government response. We welcome both documents and support the principles set out by Taylor, and many of his recommendations. We welcome a number of the commitments made by the government in its response too, but we would have liked it to go further in engaging with and responding to Taylor’s recommendations.

You can read SCYJ’s response here.

SCYJ writes to Chair of Work and Pensions Committee on youth employment

SCYJ has written to Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee regarding their inquiry into employment opportunities and support for young people.

We argue that because all formal responses to offending become part of a child’s criminal record in England and Wales, a large number of children receive a criminal record; in 2013/14, 60,000 cautions and convictions (all attracting a criminal record) were given to children in England and Wales.

By way of contrast, SCYJ’s research on the treatment of childhood criminal records in different jurisdictions shows that, over the same time frame, only 48 children under the age of 17 were given a criminal record in New Zealand and in New Mexico, USA, only one child received a criminal record

This has an inevitable negative impact on future employment something crucial to rehabilitation.

You can see the letter in full here.

SCYJ submission to the Justice Select Committee consultation on childhood criminal records

SCYJ has submitted a report to the Justice Select Committee consultation. We argue that the childhood criminal records system in England and Wales stands out as one of the most punitive in the world.

England and Wales are relatively rare in making no distinction between records acquired as a child, and those acquired as an adult no matter what the offence;1 unlike many jurisdictions, there is no means to expunge a criminal record acquired in childhood; rules on disclosure are relatively unrestricted, and all convictions can be disclosed for lengthy periods.

As a consequence, children who have offended in England and Wales are bound to the mistakes of their past in a way that is not paralleled with their international equals. This report looks at the treatment of childhood criminal records across a number of countries in Europe, Australasia and three states in the USA.

You can find our submission here.