SCYJ Written Evidence Submission – Offensive Weapons Bill (2017-19)

SCYJ has submitted written evidence to the Public Bill Committee for the Offensive Weapons Bill (2017-19). The Bill creates a number of new laws around the possession and intended use of knives and corrosive substances.

SCYJ opposes measures in the Bill that will increase the use of mandatory minimum custodial sentences for children. This includes by creating an ill-defined and loose offence for possession of corrosive substances, and by substantially lowering the conviction threshold for the offence of threatening with a knife or offensive weapon.

SCYJ opposes mandatory custodial sentences  given that they remove judicial discretion, and there is no evidence that custodial sentences deter children, nor that they are rehabilitative or necessary for public protection.

Read our full submission here.

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SCYJ response to the Joint Inspectorates’ ‘Proposed changes to the joint inspections of secure training centres’ Consultation

SCYJ has responded to a consultation on proposed changes to the joint inspections of secure training centres (STCs). The inspectorates describe the rationale for the changes as ensuring that children’s experiences and progress are central to inspections, and bringing greater consistency to the way in which the experiences of children in custody are viewed by more closely aligning the inspection of STCs with inspections of other children’s services.

We welcome the principle of closer alignment put forth by the inspectorates, however we note an obvious risk with regards to distancing the inspection of Youth Offender Institutions (YOI). We generally agree with proposals to revise the judgement structure for inspections, and plans for a more robust and consistent response to an ‘inadequate’ judgement following an inspection.

Read our full response here.

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SCYJ response to the MoJ ‘Secure Schools: How to Apply Guide’ Consultation

SCYJ has responded to the Ministry of Justice consultation on draft ‘Secure Schools: How to Apply’’ guidance. The guide sets out the expectations of Secure Schools and the procedure that prospective Secure School providers must take.

SCYJ applauds the detail included in the draft guide and welcomes a number of elements, including the recognition of the vulnerability of children in custody and the need to develop a child-focused, individualised provision with a specialized workforce.

However, we do have some concerns, particularly with regards to the place of cost in the assessment process, and we would welcome further details on aspects not yet covered by the guide. We have made a variety of recommendations and offered practical guidance to ensure that Secure Schools will be developed with a child-focused approach.

Read our full response here.

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