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Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 24 September 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to reduce the number of juveniles held within the prison system. [15793]

Our aim is a faster, more efficient youth justice system with a clear emphasis on early and effective intervention to prevent young people offending. We will be bringing forward legislation to strengthen the scope for dealing effectively with young people in the community.We will shortly announce new custodial sentencing arrangements for young people. We are also reviewing the whole range of secure accommodation for remanded and sentenced young people.Our aim is to find ways of making better and more effective use of the accommodation and to ensure positive and constructive regimes which safeguard young people's welfare and tackle offending behaviour.