Explosion In Child Prison Pupolation Places ‘Intolerable Burden’ On Councils

In response to the Howard League report ‘Chaos, Neglect and Abuse’, Cllr Les Lawrence, the Local Government Association’s (LGA) spokesperson on Children and Young People, says: “Councils take their responsibilities for vulnerable children incredibly seriously and in complex circumstances do all they can to ensure that young people coming out of custody receive the support they need. However, an explosion in the child prison population over the last decade has placed an intolerable burden on councils in an area where resources are already stretched and difficult decisions need to be made.”

“The LGA has estimated that some 4,000 non-violent young offenders a year should be dealt with in the community rather than being sent to custody. Not only would this cut re-offending rates it would save around £70m every year, money that could be ploughed back into ensuring that young offenders receive the support services they need.”

“The law in this area can be incredibly complicated and the LGA will be working with the Howard League and the government to clarify the responsibilities of councils.”

John Coughlan, vice-president of the Association of Directors of Social Services fully agreed with councillor Laurence’s view. He said: “We anticipate that the recently established joint initiative with the Youth Justice Board to place social workers in young offenders’ institutions will also be of enormous help in the future. However it is important, too, that local authorities recognise the important duties they have towards children in their care who end up in custody.”