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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 140736 Find in a Library
Title: Case Against Sentencing 15-Year-Olds to Prison Service Custody
Corporate Author: National Assoc for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO)
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: National Assoc for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO)
London, SW9 0PU
Sale Source: National Assoc for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO)
169 Clapham Road
United Kingdom
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This paper argues that the British Government should remove 15-year-olds from Prison Service custody and place them instead in local authority secure units.
Abstract: Bullying and intimidation occur in many young offender institutions and are often factors in suicide attempts. Other effects of locking up children as young as 15 years in penal facilities include the following: (1) large catchment areas of young offender institutions mean that young people are often held far from their home areas, making visits by families and social workers difficult; (2) in some young offender institutions, restricted regimes mean that young people may be locked in their cells for long periods; (3) young people aged 15 years learn about criminal techniques from older and more experienced prisoners; and (4) prison staff do not have the necessary training or resources to provide appropriate care for prisoners as young as 15 years. In 1990, 484 offenders aged 15 years were sent to detention in young offender institutions; three out of four people under 17 years of age were reconvicted within 2 years after release. Because of this high recidivism rate, the paper contends that local authority secure units are more appropriate for 15-year-olds than Prison Service custody. These units have a better physical environment and staff qualified to work with difficult and vulnerable youth. Where 15-year-olds have committed less serious offenses, far more will be achieved by requiring them to participate in constructive community sentences than by sending them to detention for short periods. Noncustodial options include fines, compensation orders, attendance center orders, supervision orders, and intensive intermediate treatment.
Main Term(s): Foreign juvenile justice systems; Juvenile sentencing
Index Term(s): Crime in foreign countries; England; Foreign juvenile delinquency; Foreign sentencing; Juvenile correctional facilities; Juvenile detention; Juvenile inmates; Juvenile offenders; Juvenile Recidivism
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