Youth Incarceration in UK

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In the light of the search for alternatives to juvenile incarceration, several researchers and policy makers have made strong and persuasive arguments for the reduction, or sometimes, a complete abolition of incarceration for young offenders.


It is argued that the pace of these changes is unprecedented in British history. The enactment, in 1998 of the Crime and Disorder Act, marked a paradigm shift youth justice policy from both the welfare oriented innovations of the 1960s and 1970s, and the diversionary measures of the 1980s.Current statistics of juvenile incarceration shows that England and Wales have the highest imprisonment rates for children and young people in Western Europe, surpassed by Turkey and Ukraine only. The indignation for this rising incarceration for young offenders is succinctly expressed the Prison Reform Trust's assertion that the present statistics of the country's children in incarceration, might 'shame' the country into 'reducing prison numbers and finding more effective solutions to juvenile crime'. As a result of this sharp increase in the number of youths and young persons in custody, as a fall out of the UK's 'newfound tough stance' on youth crime, the efficiency of incarcerating youths and children has been severally debated in academic, policy and practice settings, both on national and international scenes. An indication of lack of trust in the incarceration of young offenders as a means of reducing juvenile crime is apparent from the statement of Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, 'Child crime can only be cut effectively if we are courageous enough to recognise the failings of present provision and look for the widest range of non-custodial alternatives'. ...
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