323. The focus of our inquiry was on adult and young
adult prisoners, and we did not have the opportunity to take detailed
evidence on the specific needs and problems of juveniles. Nonetheless
this is an important topic and we therefore set out here some
basic information about juveniles, and make a number of recommendations.
324. Over the first six months of 2004, the number
of juvenile prisoners increased by 11%: on 2 July 2004, there
were 2,586 juvenile prisoners in England and Wales. Reconviction
rates are very high amongst this group: in 1999, 80% of 14-17
year olds discharged from prison were reconvicted within two years.
 The majority
of juvenile prisoners have a background of severe social exclusionover
a quarter of those of school age have literacy and numeracy levels
of the average seven-year old. Over 50% have a history of being
in care or social services involvement.
325. The number of juveniles who received custodial
sentences in 2003-04 was 5,400. The Detention and Training Order
(DTO) is the main
custodial sentence used for juvenile prisoners. Of the sentenced
juvenile population, approx. two-thirds are serving DTOs. The
average length of time spent in custody under a DTO is 4½
months. The remainder of the sentenced population are serving
sentences for "grave crimes",
spending on average about 11 months in the juvenile estate, although
many are transferred thereafter to adult custody where they spend
a significant additional amount of time before release.
326. Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programmes
(ISSPs) are also available for persistent and serious young offenders
under 18 years. Between April 2003 and March 2004, 4,700 ISSPs
were imposed on juvenile offenders as compared to 3,350 for the
same period in 2002-03. 412 ISSPs were commenced in the first
month of the 2004-05 financial year. The overall completion rate
since the introduction of ISSPs is 51%.
327. The juvenile secure estate consists of four
i. Young offender institutions for boys,
comprising approximately 85% of the available accommodation for
juveniles. About 2,600 boys are accommodated in 14 establishments.
ii. Prison service accommodation for girls. Since
the end of 2003, no girls under the age of 17 have been placed
in prison service accommodation. At present around 80 girls
aged 17 are placed at any one time in prison accommodation shared
with older female prisoners. The Home Office has undertaken that
all these girls will be moved to discrete juvenile units by early
2006. £16 million has been allocated to the Youth Justice
Board to establish the new units, in addition to £3.5 million
earlier set aside for a new unit for under 18s at HMP Downview,
to which girls will be transferred from HMP Holloway.
We welcome the Home Office's undertaking and look forward to
seeing it implemented on schedule.
iii. Secure training centres, providing 194 accommodation
places for 12-14 year olds and some of the more vulnerable sentenced
and remanded 15-16 year old girls and boys.
iv. Local authority secure children's homes,
providing places for children from the age of 10 upwards who need
to be held securely for welfare reasons as well as criminal justice
328. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 established
a new principal aim for the youth justice system"to
prevent offending by children and young people".
The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) was established
under the Act to monitor the operation and performance of the
youth justice system and to identify and disseminate good practice
in youth justice and in preventing offending by children and young
people. In addition,
youth offending teams were created, requiring local authorities,
social services and education authorities to work with the police,
probation services and health authorities in a multi-agency approach
to administering community sentences and interventions and working
with juvenile custodial establishments.
329. Since April 2000, the YJB has been responsible
for commissioning services for juvenile prisoners who are sentenced
and remanded to secure facilities. The YJB considers that this
"commissioning approach has enabled the Board to influence
the standards of custodial regimes for young offenders".
330. The Prison Service has established a five-year
Partnership Agreement with the YJB to improve rehabilitative provision
for juveniles. The Youth Justice Board National Standards
require there to be
"an educational assessment [of all juvenile
prisoners] on arrival; educational needs must be continually addressed
in the individual training plan with appropriate goals. All education
should be delivered in line with the national specification for
learning and skills." 
331. The Prison Rules 1999 require arrangements to
be made for all prisoners of compulsory school age to participate
in education or training courses for at least 15 hours a week
within the normal working week.
However, as the table below demonstrates, the average number of
hours spent in education by juvenile prisoners has been falling
in recent years.
Average number of hours spent by juveniles in education
|Year||Hours per week
332. The YJB aims to provide young offenders with 30 hours a week
of purposeful activity, including good quality education and training
provision, whilst in custody. However, according to HM Chief Inspector
of Prisons, Anne Owers, "no juvenile establishment has yet
succeeded in meeting the YJB target of 30 hours per week in education
There are currently no offending behaviour programmes for juvenile
offenders. The Prison Service states that Juvenile Enhanced Thinking
Skills and sex offender programmes are currently being developed.
333. We welcome the Youth Justice Board's efforts
to date to reform the operation and performance of the youth justice
system and the work it has completed, in partnership with the
Prison Service, to improve rehabilitative provision for juvenile
334. However, we regret the consistent failure
to meet the YJB target of 30 hours of constructive activity per
week for this prisoner group, and the Government's failure to
meet its statutory obligation regarding the number of hours juvenile
prisoners spend in education and training courses. The very low
literacy and numeracy levels of this prisoner group dictate that
education and training should form the cornerstone of the prison
rehabilitation strategy for juvenile prisoners, with the adoption
of innovative approaches to education, training schemes and work
335. Nacro has been running a rehabilitation scheme,
known as the 'On-side' Programme, for juvenile prisoners since
1999. The scheme provides each youngster with a tailor-made programme
overseen by a key worker based at the prison. The programme seeks
to tackle problems such as drug-dependency, and offers practical
help on addressing housing, employment and training needs. An
evaluation of the programme commissioned by Nacro shows a significant
reduction in re-offending rates for 15-17 year old programme participants
between 1999 and 2001: 58% of project participants re-offended
following release, compared with a national rate of 84% for young
offenders leaving prison service institutions. The evaluation
found that continued contact with the programme after release
was particularly effective in reducing the likelihood of the young
person returning to crime. Nearly two-thirds of those who were
supported after release managed to stay away from further trouble.
336. It is regrettable that the Government's National
Action Plan for rehabilitation does not provide a strategy for
dealing with juvenile prisoners. We recommend that a the Government
develop a comprehensive prison rehabilitation regime for juvenile
prisoners. This should address the lack of provision of appropriate
housing for young people and the difficulties in securing education
and training post-custody. In addition, access to and provision
of drug treatment programmes should be improved for juvenile prisoners.
Young adult prisoners
337. A report by Nacro, published in 2001, concluded
that 18-21 year old offenders are a particularly vulnerable group.
Nearly 75% of young adult prisoners were excluded from school
at some stage and 63% were unemployed at the time of their arrest.
Young adult prisoners constitute 42% of first time offenders and
receive short-term sentences of less than 12 months.
The average time spent in custody for young adult prisoners serving
a short-term sentence is eight weeks and one day.
In July 2004, there were more than 8,000 young adults in prison.
338. Young adult males exhibit the highest level
of re-offending of any other age range, and young adult prisoners
are particularly vulnerable to suicide and self harm. Young adult
prisoners are more likely than adults to suffer from mental health
problems and are more likely to commit or attempt suicide than
both younger and older prisoners.
Nearly two thirds of young female prisoners under 21 years self-harmed
in 2003. In 2003
no juveniles died in custody but 11 young adult prisoners did.
Between January 1990 and December 2003, there were 177 self-inflicted
deaths of young people in prison; this represents 19% of all self-inflicted
deaths during that period.
339. The Joint Committee on Human Rights has recently
produced a report on deaths in custody.
This highlighted the deaths in custody of children and young people
as "especially distressing". The report noted practical
measures taken by the Youth Justice Board to minimise the risk
of self-harm and suicide, but commented "there have been
some deeply worrying cases of children and young people who have
died while in the care of the state". It drew attention in
particular to the case of Joseph Scholes, who hanged himself in
HMYOI Stoke Heath in March 2002 at the age of just 16. He had
been placed in prison service custody rather than local authority
secure accommodation despite the trial judge having wanted warnings
about his history of self-harming and sexual abuse to be "most
expressly drawn to the attention of the authorities". The
Joint Committee recommended that there should be a public inquiry
into Joseph Scholes's death (as had been urged by the coroner
who presided over the inquest), noting that there has never been
a public inquiry into the death of a child in custody.
340. Effective resettlement of young adults is often
hampered by lower levels of benefit, lower minimum wage levels
and an increased likelihood of unemployment and homelessness.
Currently, about 72% of 18-20 year olds are reconvicted within
2 years of release.
341. The graph below provides a break down of the
young male population by offence.
The majority of young adult prisoners have been convicted of non-violent
offences. In 2003 over a third of young males in prison were serving
sentences for robbery and theft.
Source: Prison Statistics England and Wales, November
342. The Government has attempted to create more
effective intervention programmes of sufficient punitive weight
and rehabilitative content for young adult offenders in the community.
The Intensive Control and Change Programme ("ICCP")
is a community based sentence for offenders who would otherwise
face up to 12 months in prison. It contains an electronically
monitored curfew where the young adult is curfewed for up to 12
hours a day. The Probation Service works with the police on oversight
of the ICCPs in the community and the enforcement of the terms
and conditions. Those subject to an ICCP also do up to seven hours
a week (unpaid) community service and complete up to 18 hours
a week rehabilitation programmes, depending on the needs and risks
identified by the OASys. In the 11 pilot areas for ICCPs, there
were 58 ICCPs commenced in April 2004 and 66 in May 2004.
343. HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has criticised
the "relative impoverishment" of the regimes and activities
available for young adult prisoners, reporting that in nearly
all prison establishments inspected, there is insufficient rehabilitative
work for young adults prisoners. The statistics relating to young
adult prisoners from our 'Prison Diary Project' confirm the Chief
Inspector's findings. Seventy per cent of young adult prisoners
spent less than four hours a day out of their cell in constructive
activity. The statistics also indicated that the proportion of
young offenders who received advice about accommodation or work
after release were only 32% and 26% respectively, whilst over
75% of responding prisoners did not have a job to go to on release.
344. In February 2004 we visited at HMYOI Aylesbury
to find out about the approach to rehabilitation adopted there.
In 1989, this establishment was designated a long-term young offender
institution, holding young male prisoners aged 18 to 21 serving
sentences from two years up to life imprisonment. From the prisoner's
arrival onwards, sentence planning is geared to education and
skills training. The prison runs, in partnership with Toyota,
a successful mechanics training course with a fully equipped workshop
where young adult prisoners can obtain NVQ qualifications from
Levels 1 through to 4. It also runs a fitness instructor training
programme with a range of recognised qualifications; it participates
in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme; and there are plans to
create a painting and decorating workshop. As far as possible,
the prison day is structured to reflect the normal working day,
with recreational use of the gym and other facilities in the evenings.
In addition, the resettlement agenda has been prioritised by the
Deputy Governor (Head of Resettlement) through the appointment
of a full-time member of staff with responsibility for resettlement
345. Recent efforts to reform the prison regime
for young prisoners have focused on the juvenile prison estate.
As a result, 18 to 21 year old prisoners have been overlooked.
We recommend that the Government match the investment it has made,
through the Youth Justice Board, in developing a prison rehabilitation
strategy for juveniles, by designing an equivalent tailored range
of rehabilitative interventions for young adult offenders.
346. Levels of constructive activity and intervention
programmes for the young adult prison population are woefully
inadequate. We commend the Governor and his staff at HMYOI Aylesbury
on the rehabilitation initiatives they are running for young adult
offenders. We recommend that the Prison Service incorporate such
models of good practice into a national rehabilitation strategy
for young adult offenders, to be set out in a revised edition
of the National Action Plan.
347. Evidence demonstrates that young prisoners need
intensive support following release to (i) deal with day-to-day
practicalities, (ii) complete educational courses commenced in
custody and (iii) ensure they do not fall back into crime.
348. We recommend that the Government conduct
a small number of pilot schemes for appropriately trained mentors
of young adult offenders. The scheme should be independently monitored
and evaluated to assess its impact on re-offending rates.
259 Ev 263-264 (para 13) Back
Prison population and accommodation briefing for 2 July 2004 and
YJB information Back
A DTO is half served in custody and half in the community under
the supervision of a Youth Offending Team. Back
Under sections 90 and 91 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing)
Act 2000. Back
Home Office answers to Committee questionnaire on Home Office
Departmental Report 2004 (June 2004) (to be printed) Back
Prison Service, Prison Service News, No. 229 (May 2004) Back
Ev 262 Back
Section 37 of the Act Back
Ev 262 Back
Ibid. (para 1.3) Back
Youth Justice Board, National Standards for Youth Justice Services
2004 (2004) Back
S.I., 1999, No. 728 Back
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Annual Report of Chief Inspector
of Prisons 2002-03 (2004) Back
Ev 146 (para 4.1.8) Back
Social Exclusion Unit, Reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners
(July 2002) Back
Prison Statistics England and Wales 2002 (2003) Back
Prison population and accommodation briefing for 2 July 2004 Back
Office for National Statistics, Psychiatric Morbidity among young
offenders in England and Wales (2000) Back
Prison Service, Safer Custody News (2004) Back
Joint Committee on Human Rights, Third Report of Session 2004-05,
Deaths in Custody (HL 15-I, HC 137-I), para 51 Back
See previous footnote. Back
Deaths in Custody, paras 73-76 Back
Young Adult Offenders, A Period of Transition, Nacro Press
Relase, 25 March 2003, ROP 21. Back
No such break down is available for young female offenders. Back
See Annex 4. Back