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Justice Committee report on children and young people in custody

Bev Higgs, Chair of the MA, responds to the report

12 November 2020
Justice Committee report on children and young people in custody

The Justice Select Committee has published part one of their report on children and young people in custody

Bev Higgs JP, Chair of the MA, made the following comment in response:

The MA welcomes this new report from the Justice Committee, which makes a series of important recommendations on how the youth justice system can be improved.

The report again highlights the worsening overrepresentation of BAME children and young people in the youth justice system. This should act as a spur for all those working in the justice system to do more to address this issue.

On remand, credible alternatives are often key so it is vital that the Ministry of Justice’s remand review considers this, alongside focusing on reducing racial disproportionality. We are also grateful that the committee has supported our call for more flexible sentencing options for first time offenders who plead guilty, and is proposing a feedback loop so courts can review community sentences.

The report also highlights the negative impact of delays on young people waiting to appear in court. It is unjust for those who turn 18 while waiting for a court date to be dealt with in adult court and the Ministry of Justice should legislate to ensure this cohort are automatically dealt with in youth court.

The Ministry of Justice should act on the recommendations of this report to ensure that children and young people who come into contact with the justice system are treated fairly and given the best possible chance to turn their lives around.

The Justice Select Committee report is available here and their press release is available here.

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