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Alternatives to custody need to be found

In April this year, the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice adopted the resolution that national action plans should be formed to reduce the imprisonment of juveniles.

Recognise failure for successful secure schools

This April would have been the 25th anniversary of the opening of Medway Secure Training Centre (STC). Like most, if not all, secure establishments it had a rocky start but represented the beginning of a major reform in youth justice. As we await the birth of the new secure school on the site of the original STC it is worth reflecting on the past 25 years.

Focus of spending must be balanced

It's official: the UK spends more money on child welfare and education than the average market economy. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report out last week, we spend just over 90,000 per child from birth to 18 compared to an OECD average among 30 member countries of just under 80,000.

Cost of custody should be devolved

The current system of placing children in prison operates under a perverse financial incentive. Local authorities, which are responsible for a range of prevention and early intervention work to divert the young from crime, are essentially rewarded for their failures. If children are sentenced to custody, they no longer pick up the tab for their welfare.

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