Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Imprisonment of children for breaching ASBOs must stop - Huhne

Nearly half of children who breach their ASBO are sent to prison, with the average sentence they receive being significantly longer than adults who break their ASBO, according to figures revealed by the Liberal Democrats.

The figures, contained in a Parliamentary Answer, showed how:
· Nearly 1,000 (986) children were sent to prison for breaching an ASBO between 2000 and 2006
· 42% of all children who breached an ASBO were sent to prison
· The average sentence given to them was 6.4 months
· The average sentence given to adults who breached an ASBO was just 4.9 months
· The number of children in prison in July 1997 was 2,643. By July 2007, this figure was 3,013 (in April 2008 that figure was 3,012). This is a 14% increase since Labour came to power

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Huhne said:

"Huge amounts of money have been thrown at the system but youth crime remains stable, re-offending rates ludicrously high and fear of crime higher still.

"The last decade has seen an ever increasing criminalisation of our young people. More and more of them are being dragged through the system and being locked up.

"The demonisation of young people by politicians and the media has fuelled the fear of crime, and ASBOs have played a massive part. It has got to stop.

"It is totally unacceptable to send a single child to prison for breaching an ASBO, let alone the 1,000 children who have been sent to prison. Children are being sent to jail for longer than adults who breach ASBOs."

Notes:

1. Statistics taken from Crime Reduction Website

2. Children in custody figures from 2007/08

3. Children in custody figures from 1997
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