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Juveniles (Reconviction Rates)

Volume 78: debated on Thursday 2 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the latest reconviction rates for juveniles attending detention centres.

About 70 per cent. of juveniles discharged from detention centres in England and Wales in 1980 were reconvicted within two years.

Does that not show that the philosophy behind the Government's thinking in relation to juveniles who do wrong is not working? Would it not be a lot better if the Government concentrated on giving juveniles real jobs in society so that they felt that they were playing a more valid role, instead of leaving them to roam the streets and end up in detention centres?

Those cheap and tendentious observations are somewhat undermined by the fact that in each of the years of the Labour Government the reconviction rates were higher than those I have just given.

Given the lack of success of the detention centres, does the Minister agree that it is time that statutory funding was provided for intermediate treatment for juveniles throughout Britain, bearing in mind the evidence of success of such schemes?

The hon. and learned Gentleman will know that we are attracted to intermediate schemes and that the Department of Health and Social Security has recently put some £15 million into developing intermediate treatment facilities throughout Britain.