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Young Offenders: Females

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 71304, tabled on 8 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the report, Out of sight: Girls in the Children and Young People’s Secure Estate, published by Centre for Mental Health on 5 October 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the efficacy of the use of short custodial sentences for girls.

Answered on

19 November 2021

To better understand the needs and care pathways of girls in the youth secure estate, the Youth Custody Service and NHS England & Improvement co-commissioned the Centre for Mental Health to undertake this report. We are considering all the recommendations carefully. The report will inform our strategy for girls and helping us to continue to build a gender-responsive approach to children in custody.

HMI Prisons is conducting a thematic on girls in custody which will also feed into our strategy.

The Ministry of Justice is undertaking and supporting a range of community-based interventions to address underlying causes of offending behaviour by children and young people, including girls. MoJ ministerial and official engagement has contributed to, for example, DLUHC’s Supporting Families programme; DfE’s programmes (such as the Alternative Provision and the Support, Attend, Fulfil, Exceed taskforces) and on Family Hubs; and DHSC’s Long Term Plan rollout of the Community Integrated Care Framework.

Custody should always be a last resort for all children. Measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will tighten the tests courts must apply in order to remand children in custody and will strengthen community sentencing options. This will better ensure that remand and short custodial sentences are only used for girls where necessary and appropriate. The department is also undertaking a review into youth remand and will publish its findings in due course.