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Young Prisoners

Volume 592: debated on Tuesday 3 February 2015

In April 2010, 2,149 people under 18 were in custody. The latest published figures available for the youth custody population relate to November 2014, when 1,055 people under 18 were in custody. That is a decrease of 51%.

That is a substantial decrease and it is very welcome, particularly at a time when crime is falling. Much of it has been due to the excellent work of the Youth Justice Board, which should be congratulated. Does the Minister agree that we should take similar steps to try to reduce the number of women in prison, which is what has been argued for by the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark (Simon Hughes)?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his words of praise for the Youth Justice Board. That organisation, along with colleagues in the youth offending teams, has done excellent work in reducing the number of entrants to youth custody. However, decisions about which people should be sent to prison are decisions for the courts, and women’s prisons are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Minister of State.