Youth justice – Government action
UK Government actions
- In March 2021, the UK Government introduced the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which includes measures applicable to children, including in relation to sentencing, remand, criminal records and secure schools.
- In January 2021, the UK Government made children exempt from new regulations that extend the time a person can be held in custody before a Crown Court trial.
- In November 2020, in response to a Supreme Court ruling, the UK Government introduced legislation to reform the criminal records system by changing the rules governing disclosure for sensitive roles. This amendment prevents the requirement for self-disclosure and automatic disclosure of youth cautions, reprimands and warnings.
- In June 2020, the UK Government partially or fully accepted many recommendations from an independent review of the use of pain-inducing techniques in the youth secure estate, including to amend the training programme for managing restraint to remove pain-inducing techniques.
- In June 2020, the UK Government published a national framework setting out how coronavirus-related restrictions would be eased for those in custody, including in youth offending institutions.
- In April 2020, the UK Government published a policy paper and introduced legislation to allow certain offenders, including children, to be released temporarily from prison, in light of COVID-19.
- In February 2020, the UK Government published an update on progress tackling racial disparities in the criminal justice system, including the implementation of the recommendations of an independent review of race in the criminal justice system. This provided an update on a range of issues, including youth justice.
- In February 2020, the UK Government announced that Feltham Young Offender Institution would be offered the Prison Performance Support Programme, delivering additional staff, enhanced standards training, and tougher security measures. In July 2019, the Government imposed a temporary stop on new prisoners being detained there following a rapid deterioration in conditions, although this was lifted in October 2019.
- In December 2019, the Queen’s Speech included a commitment to establish a Royal Commission to ‘review and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice process’.
- In October 2019, the UK Government published its Youth Custody Service Safeguarding Review, which made a series of recommendations for improvement of the system, such as developing needs-led child-focused safeguarding frameworks.
- In 2017, the UK Government created the Youth Custody Service, which has responsibility for the operational running of the youth secure estate for children and young people aged between 10 and17 years in England and Wales. In 2019 a series of related reforms were announced, including rolling out Custody Support Plans to provide each young person with a dedicated officer to monitor their progress.
- In December 2016, the Taylor review of the youth justice system was published. It recommended that Young Offender Institutions and Secure Training Centres be replaced by a network of secure schools with integrated services, and advised that most causes of childhood offending are outside of the justice system. The Government responded, confirming that it would adopt the key recommendations.
Read our assessment of the UK Government’s progress on youth justice.
The assessment was made based on the evidence available up to 18/03/2021