Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Prison Reform Report - Punishing Disadvantage

Punishing disadvantage

This introduction is copied from the Prison Reform Trust web site - http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/standard.asp?id=2302

The Prison Reform Trust has just launched its You Gov Poll report regarding the punishment of children. A census of nearly 6,000 children who entered custody in the second half of 2008 analysed the offences for which children were imprisoned, with results showing that three-fifths of the children sentenced to custody were convicted of crimes which usually result in community sentences, with half imprisoned for non-violent crimes.

A detailed analysis of family and social circumstances revealed the multiple layers of complex disadvantage many of the children had experienced. Three quarters had had absent fathers, a quarter had been in care, one in five children had harmed themselves, and one in nine had attempted suicide.

The report, the most comprehensive of its kind in 25 years, comes at the
same time that a YouGov poll confirmed that nearly two-thirds of the public think the minimum age of imprisonment, currently 10 years old, is too low, with a further two-thirds in favour of raising the minimum age of imprisonment for non-violent crimes to at least 14 years old.

You can download a summary briefing of the report and the YouGov poll here - http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/uploads/documents/PunishingDisadvantage.pdf

If we are to reduce re-offending, we must address the causes. Failure to do so will only result in more crime, social exclusion and increasing costs.

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