“You will never be a bricklayer or a plumber. One former inmate, “Jason”, spoke of his stays in seven different institutions between the ages of 14 and 17. It is not a headline-grabber like “hooligan”, “thug” or “teen gangster”. The answer is, of course, that nearly all of them end up back in the system – not twice, but countless times, and those who receive the “toughest” sentences do so the most. His father had cancer. His first conviction was at the age of 11, the result of what he describes as “erratic behaviour”. There were 46,265 offences in the 12 … The identity of a child aged between 10 and 17 charged with a crime will not be disclosed outside the court. I’ve learned how to fight in jail. Gethin recalled one occasion when he was released from a young offender institution on a Friday, stole some cigarettes from the petrol station on the Saturday, was arrested and in a police station over the weekend, before being remanded back to custody by the magistrates court on the Monday morning. But, on any view, the figures show that reduced use of custody does not mean big increases in crime by children – quite the opposite. Coventry City Council, West Midlands Police and local partners launched a 10 year strategy in January 2020 aimed at tackling rising levels of violent crime involving young people. Sexual offences, Youth crime, International and organised crime, Violent crime, The CPS Areas, CPS Direct, Central Casework Divisions and Proceeds of Crime, 59-year-old man stabbed and beaten by teenagers, Two killers who fist-bumped to celebrate fatally stabbing a teenager jailed, Youth gang members receive life sentences after vicious attack on rival, Emerging Areas of Child Abuse and Exploitation, CPS Response to the HMCPSI Inspection Report in Relation to Serious Youth Crime, Conditional Cautioning: Youths – DPP Guidance. The Director's Guidance On Youth Conditional Cautions, Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999. Published 30 January 2020 . Heroin took hold of Gethin, and was both available and, by the time he became hooked, acceptable as a form of escape in the prison environment. ethin Jones is a man of wisdom, insight and compassion. The most notorious criminals jailed for crimes which shocked the UK in January The year 2020 began with a number of high-profile court cases across the country - … The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 years old. As with all recent crime figures, there has been a huge distortion in Britain as a result of dramatic reductions in police numbers and in the funding of the criminal justice system, including the courts, prosecutors and defence lawyers. There is only one feature of Gethin’s life that sets him apart from the majority of other children arrested, criminalised, brutalised and institutionalised by our criminal justice system: he managed, eventually, to escape. My views on children in the criminal justice system, just as my views on the use of prison and the prohibition of drugs, do not arise from some sentimental, “soft”, liberal perspective. With schools breaking up for the summer holidays, Mr Khan said he was putting £360,000 into 43 projects intended to work with 3,500 young people who are at risk of getting involved in crime. Gethin soon found himself ensnared in the criminal justice system. This means that children under 10 can’t be arrested or charged with a crime. The prison officer who made the decision to place Stewart with Zahid apparently knew nothing of the previous murder. The Youth Justice Statistics, published in January 2018, show that there was a staggering 14,500 new entrants into the Youth Justice System. There are other punishments that can be given to children under 10 who break the law. We nevertheless pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to process many of these children through the criminal justice system, and to warehouse them for years – and even more if they end up graduating to adult prisons, as most of them do. Tell us whether you accept cookies. Youth justice annual statistics for 2018 to 2019 for England and Wales. Navigate to Main facts and figures section; 2. Britain’s young offender institutions are places of misery and violence, and often more dangerous than adult prisons. The plain truth is that the “tougher” we get on young people, the more crimes they commit, the more victims we create, and the greater the total of human misery for our society. This was the verdict of the criminal justice system on Gethin Jones, a young man barely out of his teens. Navigate to By ethnicity over time section; 4. Youth crime is increasing in the UK which begs the question whether the law is effective for the younger generations in today’s society. Despite all the media coverage around antisocial behaviour, knife crime and young people, we have actually seen a sharp decline in the overall number of recorded crimes committed by children. This publication looks at the YJS in England and Wales for the year ending March 2019. Youth Crime: Young people aged 10-17 receiving their first reprimand, warning or conviction, 2000-01 to 2009-10 . It is the same system that created all the young men I met at young offender institutions. “You are a professional criminal,” he pronounced. We are brutalising children on a daily basis, all in the name of getting tough on crime. The boy was highly aggressive and had, unsurprisingly, entered the criminal justice system. 05 March 2020 Participating inspectorate HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Organisation Crown Prosecution Service Inspection type Youth. The most terrible irony of all is that his fierce intelligence was never extinguished. He explained how this had come about, after a history of disapproval of “smackheads” among the general prison population, for whom smoking cannabis had long been a more tolerated form of drug use. 370 results containing ‘youth crime ... UK youth economic activity by ethnic groups 2011 to 2020 . He and I are about the same age. Children between 10 and 17 can be arrested and taken to court if they commit a crime. First published Thursday, 12 th November, 2020 • by October. In 2019, the home secretary, Priti Patel, took the “tough on crime” rhetoric to a new level in British politics when she said that she wanted people, including young offenders, to “literally feel terror” at the thought of what would happen to them if they committed a crime. GOV.UK is the place to find No matter the order made against him by the courts, Gethin would breach it and go back inside. Spain had the highest rate of youth unemployment in April-June 2020 at 37.6%. In April-June 2020, the UK youth unemployment rate was 12.5%, compared to 16.1% for the European Union. Coventry Youth Violence Prevention Partnership - a long term approach to empowering young people to be safe in our City. The trends in the statistics including and excluding PNDs are very similar. Crime Murders committed by youths DEFINITION: Homicide rates among youths aged 10–29 years by country or area: most recent year available (variable 1990–1999). If they are 16 or under, their parents, guardians or carers must attend court. Miraculously, after receiving yet another prison sentence, this time of four years, he met people who, for the first time in his life, “treated [him] with respect and care”. Six long years later, Gethin had completed what he describes as his “whole rehabilitation journey”. campaigns during the subsequent year. At no time in recent history have the conditions inside young offender institutions been more oppressive and violent than they are in 2020. Having been told by everyone in authority, throughout his childhood and teenage years, that he was destined not only for failure but for prison and drug addiction, it was unsurprising that the predictions came true. As soon as he “graduated” to adult prison, Gethin found heroin, having never taken it “on the out”. Young offender institutions are not only “universities of crime”, but a form of medieval survivalism, played out in gyms, corridors, dining halls and, for some of the most tragic victims of all – like Zahid – in bed, fast asleep. Robert Stewart was a “psychopathic and violent racist”, and had already been involved in killing another inmate before he was placed with Zahid, who spent the last days of his life in constant fear. Dragged through the courts, given a dressing down by the judge, treated like what they are – criminals? His mother, a single parent to four children, had spent her childhood in care and had learning difficulties. 'A stain on national life': why are we locking up so many children? For one teenager, Zahid Mubarek, Feltham was to mark the end of his young life altogether. Over the past 25 years, as a criminal defence lawyer, I have seen first-hand how criminal justice works, not just in Britain but around the world. He has an insider’s bitter understanding of life in care, youth justice, drug addiction and prison. Utterly contradictory policies towards young offenders prevailed in the 80s and 90s, veering between the exploration of non-custodial alternatives and increased sentence lengths, introduced by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994. Without a hint of blame, he observes that he simply did not have the sort of family relationships and support that a child needs to thrive. Key statistics. 12 to 18 year olds effectively replace the much larger previous youth treatment centres. The county lines gangs regularly entice boys, largely from broken homes, into a life of crime with promises of money, kudos and a sense of belonging often lacking in their troubled home lives. Throughout all of these waves of media and political tub-thumping about youth crime, and subsequent policies on child sentencing, one thing above all shines through: recidivism. Not only are young offender institutions places of misery, violence and death (there is a suicide in a British young offender institution almost every month, and self-harm is at epidemic levels), but they also have precisely the opposite effect to that which is claimed by their advocates. Young offenders are dealt with differently in the courts compared to adults with defendants referred to by their first names. In many ways, his story is one of all that is wrong with the criminal justice system when it turns its firepower on the young. Youth Crime in England and Wales Youth Crime in Context The minimum age of criminal responsibility is set at 10 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland1. Tell us whether you accept cookies. Tragically, in what amounts to a stain on Britain’s national life, the proportion of young ethnic minority people in custody has increased in the past decade, along with assaults, use of physical restraint and self-harm incidents. As one inmate put it after his release: “Literally every day I was there, you’d see a fight. The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 years old. I am no apologist for violence and antisocial behaviour. Special measures were introduced through the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act (YJCEA) 1999 and include a range of measures to support victims and witnesses (other than the accused) to give their best evidence and help reduce some of the anxiety of attending court. At no time in recent history have the conditions inside young offender institutions been more oppressive and violent than they are in 2020. Imagine if a manufacturer were building cars that crashed at a rate of 40% a year, due to a design flaw. You’ve got to fight quick – it can only last a couple of seconds before you get stopped, so you’ve got to fight better. Gethin reached the age of 20 and had not once seen a child psychiatrist, psychologist or any other professional with the time and skills to find out what was going on and to help him find a different way to live. An inquiry into Zahid’s death heard that some of the officers at Feltham had engaged in a practice known as “gladiator” or “colosseum”, in which black or ethnic minority inmates were deliberately placed with known racists. All rights reserved. The latest breaking news, comment and features from The Independent. eroin took hold of Gethin, and was both available and, by the time he became hooked, acceptable as a form of escape in the prison environment. Youth justice statistics. An inmate having his head shaved at Aylesbury young offender institution, 2009. ver the past 25 years, as a criminal defence lawyer, I have seen first-hand how criminal justice works, not just in Britain but around the world. We use cookies to collect information about how you use GOV.UK… So much for civilised 21st-century Britain. You will never be anything.”. It was very gruesome and horrifying for me to see all the blood spurting out and someone on the floor nearly dying.”. The Crown Prosecution Service Escalating incidents of knife violence in recent years, specifically those involving young people, have led to the introduction of a mandatory custodial sentence for a first offence of threatening someone with a knife or a second offence of possessing one. Prison and drug reform are important to me, but a sea change in our handling of troubled children, in society as a whole, and not just in the criminal justice system, is the most important issue of all. The individual is aware that their actions are deviant and that they are breaking the law. Despite a reduction in the number of young prisoners in recent years, some innovations, such as mandatory detention for young offenders for certain weapons offences, have once again seen the return of the “get tough” approach. Vehicles would be subjected to factory recalls, safety certificates would be withdrawn and the offending business would be shut down by public demand. Or more? He has an insider’s bitter understanding of life in care, youth justice, drug addiction and prison. Perhaps readers with an above-average interest in criminal justice policy may have read the word “recidivism” with a guilty lack of enthusiasm. Criminalising children causes more crime and more victims – and locking children up even more so. Youth courts deal with offences including theft and burglary, anti-social behaviour and drugs offences. 1. Last updated 6 November 2020 - see all updates. Time series | Dataset ID: MM23 | Series ID: J47D | Released on 16 December 2020 Youth Training Schemes (YTS) and subsequent employment . This means that children under 10 can’t be arrested or charged with a crime. 2 Youth Justice Statistics, England and Wales, April 2018 to March 2019 The Youth Justice System (YJS) in England and Wales works to prevent offending and reoffending by children. Youth violence is a particularly pertinent issue in the United Kingdom. “How to weigh up drugs and sell them, how to make a profit on them, car theft. Hundreds of the most damaged and vulnerable young people in our society face the daily risk of violence, self-harm and death, and we are all allowing this to happen. Youth violence and knife crime may increase if we do not support kids during lockdown Cost to society will be huge if we do not invest in their futures right now The boy had become “feral” at the age of five after his mother died. In many ways, his story is one of all that is wrong with the criminal justice system when it turns its firepower on the young. He noticed a change over the years. YOIs, and in fact youth custody centres and juvenile facilities all over the world, are one of the most effective methods ever invented to increase rates of reoffending and worsen levels of crime by young people. information online. The YJS is different to the adult system and is structured to address the needs of children. Navigate to Things you need to know section; 3. In the UK the Home Office is responsible for the reduction and prevention of crime and oversees policing. Gethin believes that a legal and safe supply of drugs, access to counselling, addiction services and appropriate forms of therapy would have a huge impact on young people in the criminal justice system – particularly those who have passed through the care system and experienced trauma in their lives. The youths, who cannot be named for legal reasons…. The special measures potentially available include examination of the witness through an intermediary at the police interview and at court; giving evidence “in private” by clearing the courtroom of members of the public; removal of wigs and gowns by judges and lawyers; giving evidence in court from behind a screen; the use of video recorded evidence in chief; giving evidence via live video link from a separate room; the use of pre-trial video recorded cross-examination; and, the provision of aids to communication by means of an interpreter, computer or other device. In his late 20s, believing that his life “would never be more than a bag of gear, a prison cell and a council estate”, Gethin “was a cornered animal and [his] soul was dying”. Youth Crime videos and latest news articles; GlobalNews.ca your source for the latest news on Youth Crime . One explanation for falling crime rates in certain categories is undoubtedly that there are fewer police officers to make arrests, fewer prosecutors to bring charges and fewer courts to sentence offenders. It was said that bets were then placed on how soon violence would erupt in the cell. Child witnesses under the age of 18 are automatically eligible to apply for special measures by virtue of section 16 of the YJCEA 1999 and the court just has to satisfy itself that the special measure is likely to maximise the quality of the witness’s evidence before granting an application. With hindsight, Gethin understands that his mother’s history and struggles made it impossible for her to relate to her children in an ideal and entirely nurturing way. The shameful truth is that we spend almost nothing on the sorts of services needed to support young people through the most troubled of times – to pick them up when they fall, and to provide them with the basic ingredients to enter adulthood as fully functioning members of the community, rather than as pariahs, blighted for life by the label “criminal”. Nobody noticed that, slowly but surely, Stewart was dismantling a table in his cell. Zahid was serving his first and only custodial sentence, for stealing some razor blades (value £6) and “vehicle interference”. This type of court differs from adult criminal proceedings in a number of ways, for example the proceedings are designed to be less formal, the public are not permitted to enter the court and defendants are addressed by their first name. In response, many elements of the news media duly oblige with copious acclamatory reports of such policies. The 2019 Committee consists of eleven young people aged 15–19 years old. The use of evidence, or of any form of analysis of what actually works to reduce youth crime, always gives way – in the end – to populism. And one of the most pointless and counteractive parts of the criminal justice system I have seen is the incarceration of children. Children aged 10 – 17 years old can be given a youth conditional caution if they admit a criminal offence. ‘Recidivism” – the tendency to reoffend – is a word that is largely confined to criminology lectures, official statistics and the occasional government report. He knew exactly what he had become and why. The Youth Court is a type of magistrates' court which deals with young people. I have lost count of the times I have patiently and calmly used unambiguous evidence to that effect, only to be met with a shrug of the shoulders and an admonition to think of “the victim”, “protect the public” or “impose punishment”. More serious offences are usually transferred to Crown Court but can be dealt with in Youth court. what you think by taking our short survey, Director of Public Prosecutions @MaxHillQC has written in today's Mail about the plight of domestic abuse victims d…, Latest findings for our review of completed coronavirus prosecutions, ⚖️Five young men who carried out a vicious knife attack at a birthday party in Milton Keynes have today been convic…, ⚖️ In one of the largest manslaughter cases the CPS has ever prosecuted four men have today been found guilty of b…, RT @CPSWestMids: Three teenagers have been sentenced for the murder of a 15-year-old boy. This hardly suggests a link between increasing the incarceration of the young and the reduction of youth crime. Patel’s supporters could be heard cheering on this “war on crime”. You could be forgiven for doing so, when politician after politician advocates a “crackdown” on “antisocial behaviour”, “gang violence”, knives and even “feral youth”. “It only stays in your system for a couple of days, whereas weed is there for weeks.” Yet another perverse manifestation of the law of unintended consequences in the criminal justice system – a generation of heroin addicts, created directly by a testing policy that had been given no real thought before it was introduced. Zahid’s uncle, who saw him lying in a hospital bed, clinging to life, realised that there was no hope. In 1970, a new era of “getting tough” on young offenders really began to gather momentum with the incoming Conservative government. Steve Case, author of Criminology, discusses youth crime in the UK and its perception in the media, by the general public, and by politicians. This is the society we have created and, just as with prison policy across the board and our approach to drugs, we have got it completely wrong. Who would want to go through that twice? Indeed, the evidence is clear that criminalising children just causes more crime. Quite the opposite – I am interested only in the hard facts as to what does and does not work in reducing crime, improving lives and, first and foremost, preventing as many people as possible from becoming victims. This is an edited extract from Justice on Trial: Radical Solutions for a System at Breaking Point by Chris Daw, published by Bloomsbury and available at guardianbookshop.co.uk, • Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, and sign up to the long read weekly email here, The radical lessons of a year reporting on knife crime, An inmate in his cell at Feltham young offender institution, 2004. “Where were we when he was five?” Gethin asked, rhetorically. In England, we have been steadily moving in the same direction, as politicians respond – slavishly and without reason – to each round of media coverage of a youth “crimewave”. Jason’s time inside was not put to waste. A youth conditional caution allows an authorised person (usually a police officer) or a relevant prosecutor (usually a member of the CPS) to decide to give a caution with one or more conditions attached. The only thing that mattered to Gethin was safety – both for the child, and for the rest of us. In the US, mandatory custodial sentences have long been a feature of the sentencing of children, even in some cases leading to the imprisonment of those under 18 for the rest of their natural lives. She has advocated increased use of custodial sentences, aggressive police action against young people on the streets in the form of greater use of “stop and search”, and a zero-tolerance approach to cannabis possession. They will remain anonymous throughout proceedings but these restrictions can be challenged – usually by the media – after proceedings have ended. Towards the end of his sentence, Zahid was allocated a new cellmate. The media, politicians and the public are mostly looking the other way. But the average young offender crashes not just once, but reoffends a staggering four times, after being sentenced by the criminal courts. The Commission has the support of MPs from across political parties but it is not funded by Government, nor is it an All Party Parliamentary Group. An inmate at Feltham young offender institute. He explained how this had come about, after a history of disapproval of “smackheads” among the general prison population, for whom smoking cannabis had long been a more tolerated form of drug use. Official figures show the shocking truth about the criminalisation of our children. Years passed, and Gethin got out and went back in – much of his third decade of life was also spent inside. He had spent most of his teens “behind the door”. Gethin is in no doubt that what he said to the judge all those years ago was the truth. The criminal justice system that judge represents – which operates on behalf of us all – is what created Gethin the child, Gethin the young offender, Gethin the addict, Gethin the adult criminal. With that shameful rate of failure, the youth justice system should be demolished altogether and rebuilt from the ground up. “It only stays in your system for a couple of days, whereas weed is there for weeks.” Yet another perverse manifestation of the law of unintended consequences in the criminal justice system – a generation of heroin addicts, created directly by a testing policy that had been given no real thought before it was introduced. Not all theories give a good explanation for tackling youth crime, the labelling theory states that the label is the route of criminal behaviour; this is not a good explanation because there is a reason an individual becomes a burglar, not because they have been labelled as one. “In the mid-90s, they introduced mandatory drug testing, and that led to an explosion in heroin use in prison,” he explained. Now smartly dressed, balding, but looking every inch the successful professional that he is today, Gethin’s start in life could not have been more different. The criminal justice system treats children and young people differently from adults and significant weight must be attached to the age of the suspect if they are a child or young person under 18. The number of knife crimes In England and Wales has risen to a new record high, says the Office for National Statistics. The aim is to fast-track these cases to trial, with the police to charge as soon as possible, the CPS to provide charging advice within 7 days for bail cases, the police to provide a full file within 3 weeks of the initial hearing in the magistrates' court and a provisional trial date to be set no more than 8 weeks from date of plea. If the victim(s) wishes to observe the proceedings they are obliged to make a request to the court. The government pledges almost £100 million to fund youth crime reduction initiatives. government's services and I spoke to Gethin late last year as I approached my 50th birthday. “It used to be 80% career criminals, and 20% addicts and the mentally ill,” he told me, “Now it’s the other way around.”. Cross party group of MPs say the economic impact of the pandemic could drive young people to crime. You go for hurting as soon as possible – fighting, kicking, biting, together.”. Indeed, we happily condemn damaged children – at enormous expense – to hellholes like Feltham, where they are more likely to be assaulted or killed than to find an escape from the revolving doors of courts, prisons and addiction. Ana Waddington is an Emergency Department sister at the Royal London Hospital, Barts Health Trust. Contents. Considered by many to be even more dangerous than adult prisons, establishments such as Feltham YOI, west of London, closely replicate the feral violence of custodial institutions in the Victorian age. 1 per cent of all recorded crime is homicides and knife and gun crime (Home Office) 57 per cent rise in police recorded knife crime between 2013/14 and 2017/18 (Office for National Statistics (ONS)) Penalty Notices for Disorder . Youth criminal cases are being hit by record delays, new figures reveal. More than 40% of young people subjected to the criminal justice process reoffend within 12 months. Navigate to By ethnicity and type of custodial order over time section; 5. He now runs a successful business, Unlocking Potential, which draws upon his own experiences to provide training, mentoring and commercial services, aimed at inspiring others and supporting projects to engage with offenders of all ages in ways that might actually make a difference. Despite a dramatic fall in the overall number of young people under 18 in custody (70% since 2009), the number of crimes committed by that age group has fallen even more (75%). Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian. The Commission is consulting young people and working with academics and practitioners to better understand how serious violence manifests itself in many young people’s lives. Other projects are more targeted, helping those young people who are beginning to fall into a life of crime. Skip to main content. 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