Monday, 22 September 2008

Youth Sentencing - a new study

In a report issued to the press by Barnardo's it is stated that the number of children who are locked up by courts has risen by 550% between 1996 - 2006. It also claims that only 7% of the offences that led to youth custody last year were serious enough to warrant a custodial sentence.
Barnardo's has called for more early intervention with families to stop custodial sentencing for all but the most serious of crimes - but this has been happening with a huge amount of training and funding around restorative justice and holistic early interventions being put in place.
The disparity seems to be that there are no "set in stone" tariffs for certain offences, OK, punitive justice is never a good thing, but it seems wholly unfair, whatever the age of the offender that some people receive a custodial sentence for the same offence another offender receives a caution for. Until this is addressed, we cannot have a fair system in place, we here about a postcode lottery for the NHS, but not about postcode lotteries for sentencing, yet it happens.

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