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Linda Logan gives evidence to the Justice Select Committee on youth justice

23 June 2020
Linda Logan gives evidence to the Justice Select Committee on youth justice

Linda Logan, Chair of the MA’s Youth Courts Committee (YCC), gave evidence on 16 June to the Justice Select Committee, as part of a newly merged inquiry which covers children and young people (CYP) in custody as well as the impact of coronavirus. The Committee asked about the impact of Covid-19 on the youth justice system, and Linda discussed differing youth court provision across the country, describing some of the challenges of providing a safe service to all court users during a public health crisis. She described current challenges for ensuring CYP who are soon to turn 18 get the opportunity to be dealt with in youth court, as the backlog in the system is further impacting on existing delays for this cohort.

Other questions from the Committee focused on the disproportionate representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) CYP in the youth justice system. Linda updated the panel on the MA’s ongoing work on disproportionality and efforts to raise awareness among members and more widely, also referencing Magistrates in the Community as a tool for reaching more diverse audiences in terms of public education as well as magisterial recruitment.

Linda also discussed the difficulties for youth magistrates in terms of sentencing options, making clear that magistrates must rely on information provided in court by youth offending teams when making decisions. She raised the limits on sentencing options if Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programmes (ISSPs) are not available locally – in some cases meaning a custodial sentence is the only available option. Linda spoke about the importance of education for CYP, and suggested that the Committee look in more detail at school exclusions as a factor in youth offending. A more detailed summary of Linda’s evidence session can be read here.

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