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Mentally Ill: Young Offenders

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration he has given to the recommendation of Lord Bradley's review of people with mental health problems or disabilities in the criminal justice system for a review to examine the potential for early intervention and diversion for children and young people with mental health problems or learning difficulties who have offended or who are at risk of offending. (310994)

“Healthy Children, Safer Communities—A strategy to promote the health and well-being of children and young people in contact with the youth justice system” was published on 8 December 2009.

While this cross-government strategy sets out a wide vision for improving the health and well-being of children and young people in contact with the Youth Justice System (YJS), it also addresses the three recommendations about children in Lord Bradley's review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system.

In relation to Lord Bradley's third recommendation for children, work is under way (under the Offender Health children and young people programme in the Department) to examine the potential for early intervention and diversion. This work will continue and will be overseen by the Healthy Children, Safer Communities Programme Board.

It includes evaluation of the Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion pilots and development of guidance arising from this strategy. In addition, a detailed paper about the health needs of children in contact with the YJS will be placed on the Department's website alongside the strategy in the first quarter of this year, followed at a later date by a paper on the evidence base for effective interventions. This paper will be linked to the guidance mentioned above.

A copy of the “Healthy Children, Safer Communities” strategy has already been placed in the House Library.