Headlines: June 22nd, 1999

Delays in bringing young offenders, 10 – 17 year olds, before the courts is causing problems. A principal difficulty is the high level of re-offending in the interim period.

The average time taken to deal with a persistent young offender, from arrest to sentence, was cut from 142 in 1997 to 106 days and the target is cut it further to 71 days. There are wide variations within the figures and Home Secretary Jack Straw has said that some agencies need to raise their game.

The Youth Justice Board’s new guide ‘Speeding up Youth Justice’ shows
how swift justice can be delivered at every stage of the process, identifying the practical issues that must be tackled. It has been sent to all those involved in the processing of young offenders. In September every area will be asked to submit a Joint Improvement Plan to the Board which sets out the action it is taking to deal with persistent young offenders. The Board will also provide consultancy services, free of charge, to assist youth courts in achieving the target reduction.