Skip to main content

Young Offenders: Custodial Treatment

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to prohibit imprisonment of offenders under the age of 14 years. (218806)

We have greatly strengthened and expanded the range of pre-court diversions and community sentences available for the police and courts to use when dealing with young people who have offended. The Government’s Youth Crime Action Plan, which was published on 15 July, builds on this by setting out cross-Government arrangements for tackling offending and re-offending by young people.

However, for a small minority of young people who commit serious offences, custody is the only appropriate response to what has occurred and the only means of protecting the public.

Any offender aged 14 or under who is sentenced to custody is accommodated in a secure training centre or secure children’s home. These have high staffing ratios, a child-centred approach and a particular emphasis on education.