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Young Offenders

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of the time taken to bring young offenders’ cases to court; and what targets he has set for this process. (202059)

The Government have a pledge to halve the average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders from its 1996 level of 142 days. The 71-day target was first met in 2002, and the most recent monthly average for January 2008 is 62 days.

The average time between offence and first court hearing for all youth defendants whose cases were disposed of in 2007 is estimated at 53 days.

The Criminal Justice: Simple, Speedy, Summary (CJSSS) initiative is presently being rolled-out to further improve the speed and effectiveness of youth courts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the operation of youth referral orders. (201318)

I have been asked to reply.

July 2007 data on reconvictions show that the referral order has the lowest reconviction rate, 44 per cent., of all juvenile court imposed sentences. This is against the overall reconviction rate for juvenile community sentences of 70 per cent.

The Youth Justice Board is responsible for the monitoring of the provision and operation of youth justice services. It issued a consultation document on referral orders at the end of last year and is now in the process of drawing up an action plan to address issues raised in the responses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people under the age of 21 years were serving sentences for public protection offences at the latest date for which figures are available. (202024)

The following table shows the number of young offenders in prison establishments in England and Wales serving indeterminate and extended sentences for public protection as at end February 2008:

Under 18s

Young adults1

Extended sentence for public protection (EPP)



Indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP)



1 Young adults are those aged 18-20 and those 21 year olds who were aged 20 or under at conviction who have not been reclassified as part of the adult population.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing so numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.