8th February 2016

Response from Anne Longfield to the Prime Minister’s speech about reforming adult prisons

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England said:

“I am hopeful that the ambition shown by the Government in reforming adult prisons today will be reflected in its plans for the children’s secure estate. Like adults, the rate of reoffending of children in custody is appalling with 67% of children reoffending within 12 months of release.

“Custody should be far more ambitious for children – promoting education, wellbeing and the longer-term development of children, to foster desistance from crime. The dramatic reduction in the number of children in custody provides a unique opportunity for root and branch reform and with this, a chance to further reduce numbers – possibly by half – by using more community sentences and technology, wherever they can. Better prevention, better access to education in custody and smaller units closer to home are all part of the way we could extend the life chances of children with some of the deepest rooted social problems.”

Notes to editors

In November 2015 there were 991 children aged under 18 years in custody in England and Wales.  This is a reduction from around 3,000 in 2008.

The Secretary of State for Justice has commissioned a review of youth justice led by Charlie Taylor. The interim report of this review is expected imminently. More details of the review can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/youth-justice

Details of the reforms to adult prisons announced today by the Prime Minister can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-outlines-plan-for-reform-of-prisons

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