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Juvenile Offenders

Volume 165: debated on Friday 19 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what contact his Department has had with the Belgian Government in implementing a similar scheme in the United Kingdom as their Oikoten scheme, as an alternative to custody for persistent juvenile offenders; and if he will make a statement.

The Government have encouraged the development of schemes offering constructive and demanding community-based facilities for dealing with juvenile offenders at risk of receiving custodial sentences in England and Wales. These schemes have made an important contribution to the reduction by nearly 60 per cent. in the number of juvenile offenders given custodial sentences in 1988 compared with 1981. I am aware that other countries operate similar schemes but we are not familiar with the details of the Oikoten scheme.