Youth Justice: the minister’s view

Since I became Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice last May I have been working with Ken Clarke and the other Ministers within the department to make radical changes to the criminal justice system. Our plans are about finding out what works – the methods of rehabilitation and punishment which actually reduce crime.

One of the key aspects of this vision is preventing and tackling offending by young people. In England and Wales the number of children aged 10 to 17 grew rapidly during the course of the 1990s and into the second term of the Labour government in office.

Thankfully in more recent years there has been a decrease in the number of children in custody, but there is still much work to be done. It is worrying that around £300 million of the Youth Justice Board’s budget, just shy of two thirds of the total budget, was spent on the secure estate. The use of custodial remand is currently too high and we are keen to see this addressed. Spending on youth remand could be better used to develop local solutions which would be more cost effective in the long term, and allow young people to be diverted away from a potentially unnecessary period in custody.

The Government is committed to maintaining a dedicated focus on the needs of children and young people in the youth justice system. The current youth justice system is based on local Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) who deliver youth justice on the ground by bringing together the local authority, police, probation and health to tackle youth offending. YOTs play a key role and we intend to bolster them. It makes sense to put our trust in professionals who are working with young people on the ground, so we will be enhancing the frontline services delivered to young people by YOTs.

We will deliver more effective community punishments to deal with anti-social behaviour and the failure to follow earlier community orders. We will build on the work that is already being done to divert young people from the courts and short sentences, because we know short sentences are not always effective. Informal interventions could be much more effective in making young people face up to the consequences of their actions and prevent further reoffending.

More needs to be done to encourage the kind of integrated and cross-agency working needed to tackle offending at a local level. We want to incentivise local partners to collaborate and align their priorities – for example through the community budgets for families with multiple problems that were announced as part of the spending review.

The main challenge before us is not just to stop those already in the criminal justice system from re-offending, but to try to stop young people from ending up in contact with the youth justice system. I am confident that the more community-based approach to youth justice that we’re working to achieve in the MoJ will help to achieve this.

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 6th Jun - 9:37pm
    Talking about Covid, I hope that Jamie,and maybe Roger, feel they can persuade their colleagues at Westminster to protest about another matter that has appeared...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 6th Jun - 7:34pm
    @ Matthew, "The real reason Brexit did not happen was that Brexiteers refused to compromise." Just on a point of information: Brexit did happen. Naturally...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 6th Jun - 7:31pm
    The leader of the Liberal Democrats will need to address three big political challenges over the remaining term of this Parliament while implementing the recommendations...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 6th Jun - 7:23pm
    Why did the Lib Dems lose badly in 2015? I would say it was mainly because many of us "lefties" considered that the main objective...
  • User Avatarroger roberts 6th Jun - 7:20pm
    The photo of the M.Ps shuffling in to vote was a total nonsense - indoors and outdoors- we might have heavy rain and they'll be...
  • User AvatarAlexB 6th Jun - 7:14pm
    Well after November, I expect Boris will be trying to do a deal with Biden not Trump. A different kettle of fish.