England has a ten-year-old criminal responsibility age. The Crime and Disorder Act of 1998 established the youth justice system (YJS). Its goal is to stop young people from offending or from offending again.
When a child or young person under the age of 18 commits a crime and is given a warning, reprimand, or is charged with appearing in court, the formal YJS process begins. Reminder: In 2013, reparative measures and cautions will replace reprimands and warnings.
Teams of young offenders (YOTs)
Local authorities must establish youth offending teams (YOTs), the police, probation, and health (PCTs, and once the Health and Social Care Act of 2012 is implemented, Clinical Commissioning Groups) to work with children and young people who are offending or at risk of offending, according to the Crime and Disorder Act.
Representatives from the police, probation, health, education, and children’s services must be present at YOTs. YOTs are still in charge of looking after kids and teenagers who have been sentenced to jail time or who have been remanded.
Police holding cells
Police stations have rooms set aside for processing and, if required, holding an arrested person. These rooms are known as police custody suites. These often include detention rooms or cells, a processing room for detainees, interview rooms, and a medical room for use by professionals delivering medical services to the custody suite.
There is currently no standardized procedure for identifying and evaluating the needs for health and well-being in police detention facilities. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984 (PACE) and its supporting practice norms govern how children and adolescents are treated in detention facilities (Code C of PACE includes health assessments).
The procedure of detention and questioning is the main topic of the laws and standards of conduct. PACE differs from other UK laws in that teens under the age of 17 are viewed as adults for the purposes of police procedure, although under all other laws, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child or a young person.
Plans for contact and diversion with youth justice
A significant national program of youth justice liaison and diversion (YJLD) schemes for children and young people with mental health, learning or communication difficulties, or other vulnerabilities affecting their physical and emotional well-being is included in the cross-government Health and Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Programme, led by the Department of Health.
31 pathfinder sites for kids and teens will add to the evidence base produced by the initial six pilot programs that have been running since 2008 during the 2011–12 academic year.
To ensure more systematic access to services and give the police and courts the information they need to issue charges and impose sentences, the program aims to identify all health and social care needs at any time children and young people join the YJS.
Learn more about diversion and liaison with youth justice
The safe neighborhood for kids and teenagers.
The term “secure estate for children and young people” refers to all facilities where detained children and teenagers are housed. These include secure training facilities, secure children’s homes, and juvenile offender institutes (YOIs) (SCHs).
HM Prison Service oversees the operation of YOIs (apart from one private prison run under contract to the Youth Justice Board). Whereas SCHs are managed by local governments, STCs are handled by private businesses (although private and voluntary organisations can also run them).
STCs and SCHs are used for younger children who are regarded to be more vulnerable. Most children and young people in detention are housed in YOIs. The secure estate offers custodial placements for children aged 10 to 17; however, some 18-year-olds may still be present if their sentence is about to expire.