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Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effects of regional variation in sentencing practices, including custodial sentences, affecting young offenders. (218801)

The Youth Justice Board have commissioned a research study of sentencing decisions made by courts, to identify why some young people are sentenced to custody and others to community sentences. They will be considering its recommendations to inform any future work in respect of sentencing practice.

In the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 we introduced the Youth Rehabilitation Order, the new generic community sentence for young people aged under 18, and made a number of other youth justice provisions. To reflect this change we will also be asking the Sentencing Guidelines Council to produce sentencing guidelines for young people. The guidelines and training will be delivered to sentencers to help ensure consistent and appropriate application of the new sentencing framework.