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Young People: Remand in Custody

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many children were received into a remand institution on a Saturday in the latest year for which figures are available. (289382)

The statistics collected by the Youth Justice Board record the number of occasions on which young people have received a custodial remand, rather than the number of individual young people who have been so remanded (these figures are different because a young person may experience more than one period in custody on remand). In the year 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 there were 588 episodes of custodial remand which started on a Saturday.

The data have been supplied by the Youth Justice Board and 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 and may be subject to change over time.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of people aged 17 years who are remanded in custody. (289386)

The decision whether to grant bail or to remand a young person to the care of a local authority or to custody is a matter for the courts, which operate within the statutory framework, which is principally set out in the Bail Act 1976.

The Youth Justice Board is seeking to ensure that no young person under 18 is remanded to custody if a workable alternative can be found. It has produced a toolkit, which it intends shortly to update and relaunch, for use in conjunction with Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) for this purpose. The measures that YOTs can take to minimise use of custodial remand include setting up panels to conduct regular reviews of custody decisions; provision of bail support packages; steps to improve relationships with the courts; and remand fostering.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will undertake an assessment of local variation in the use of custodial remand in relation to children. (289869)

The decision whether to grant bail or to remand a young person to the care of a local authority or to custody is a matter for the courts, which operate within the statutory framework, which is principally set out in the Bail Act 1976.

Information on local court practice is produced six-monthly by the Sentencing Guidelines Council. The Youth Justice Board, through communications with sentencers, and performance analysis and support for youth offending teams, is working to support a reduction in the use of custody, including custodial remand, across England and Wales.