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Custody staff need crisis communication training

The Independent review of the use of pain-inducing techniques – published over the summer – in short hasn’t told us anything we didn’t know before and the heart of the recommendations are simply echoes of previous reports that still haven’t been enacted.

Action needed to help girls in custody

A decade ago, there was an average of 166 girls in custody at any one time. Now there are only 28, a more rapid fall than that for boys. This is good news, of course, but a recent report by Pippa Goodfellow, director of the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, highlights why there is no room for complacency. Here are three reasons why.

Naming child offenders harms rehabilitation

The recent naming of the 16-year-old child who murdered six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute raises once more very uncomfortable issues about the naming of child defendants in criminal cases.

Resilience prevails amid Osborne's bleak choices

Like a piercing, bitter English winter, Chancellor George Osbourne's "autumn statement" was eye-wateringly harsh. It is, without doubt, children and young people growing up in the most deprived households who are being asked to bear the brunt.

'Moment of madness' is in danger of recurring

Basing policy on evidence seems straightforward. But we continue to see politicians speak out on issues with the scantest of evidence and with particular audiences in mind. The most extreme example of late was the coverage about gangs after the summer unrest.

Riot response requires long-term solutions, not knee-jerk policies

The violence across English cities this month triggered its own riot - of condemnation, debate and knee-jerk policy pronouncements. In the days that followed the first outbreak in Tottenham, an exercise in national soul searching took place through the media. Yours truly, for one, did the breakfast TV paper review on Sky News.

Embarrassing custody rates require creative solutions

The high number of young people held in youth custody in England and Wales has been a cause of national embarrassment. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has quite rightly raised concerns at the levels of young people held in our youth jails in its recent reports. Despite impressive reductions in recent years, more than 2,000 under-18s were in custody in May.

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