Youth justice – custody
We believe that children don’t thrive in custody and that it should only be used when there are no other options.
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If a child is charged with an offence and is refused bail, they must be remanded.
All children who are charged with an offence and refused bail must be remanded into local authority accommodation, or (where certain criteria are met) youth detention accommodation. In both situations, the child will attain looked after status with the local authority’s children’s social care service.
Youth offending teams will assist the court with information relating to:
- available bail packages (eg bail support programmes)
- available local authority accommodation (eg remand into foster care)
- relevant conditions available that may be attached to a remand to local authority accommodation or bail
Care planning should consider the child’s needs both during the period of remand and following the court hearing.
The care plan will also need to consider arrangements for the child’s support needs, should they be convicted and receive a custodial sentence.
Local authority support to the child and their family during this time is important, and efforts should be made to ensure that time on remand does not disrupt existing ties between the child and their community.
A detention and training order (DTO) will sentence a young person to custody.
The court only gives a DTO to a young person who represents a high level of risk, has a significant history of offending or is a persistent offender.
The court will always take into consideration the seriousness of the offence when sentencing a young person to a DTO.
A DTO can be given to 12-17 year olds. The length of the sentence can be between 4 months and 2 years.
Other custodial sentences are available, but rarely used:
- s90 s91, by Crown Court judges to sentence longer than 2 years, or for murder, detention for life
- S226a (dangerousness) or s228 (extended supervision post-release)