Young offenders report hears bleak view of the future

A new report into young people’s experience of custody paints a bleak picture of their hopes for going straight on their release.

The report, published jointly by Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, and the Youth Justice Board, sets out how young people aged 15 to 18 describe their own experience of imprisonment in 2010-11.

When asked if they had done something during their time in custody that would make them less likely to offend in future, only half of them answered positively.

This was despite high levels of them saying they wanted to stop offending: 92 per cent of young men and 93 per cent of young women.

And although getting a job was cited by young men (and by 52 per cent of young women) as most likely to stop them offending, fewer than half of young people said they knew who to contact for help with finding employment.

The report, Children and Young People in Custody 2010-11: an analysis of the experiences of 15 to 18-year-olds in prison’, found that the number of children and young people held in young offender institutions continued to fall during 2010-11 from 1,977 to 1,822.

However, more than half of the young men, 53 per cent, said it was their first time in custody, up from 39 per cent in 2009-10.

The report also found that the proportion of black and minority ethnic young men in custody continued to rise; that over a quarter of young men and over half of young women said they had spent some time in local authority care; and that almost a quarter of young women and 13 per cent of young men had children of their own.

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