Fewer youngsters locked up by courts, report reveals

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Fewer children were locked up in Doncaster last year after a fall in the total, new figures have revealed.

Between April 2014 and March 2015, there were 19 youngsters aged between 10 and 17 given custodial sentences by the courts in the borough.

It represents 0.69 per 1,000 of the population.

It compares with 43 between April 2014 and March 2015. That represented 1.56 per 1,000 of the population.

The figure still remains above the national average, which is 0.42 per1,000 of population.

The statistics are revealed in a report which is due to go before Doncaster councillors later this week.

It is the Doncaster Youth Offending Service plan for the next year.

The report, due to go before the council’s overview and scrutiny management committee on Thursday, chaired by Coun John Mounsey, says the service will work closely with the courts to get the correct sentences for young people.

It states: “We will continue to work closely with courts to get the most appropriate sentences for young offenders and we will continue to offer the most appropriate range of requirements within the Youth Rehabilitation Order for those young offenders convicted of serious offending, to ensure that both their risk and needs are met but also that the Public are protected.

“The YOS understands the need for a strong approach to managing serious offending behaviour.

“To enable this to happen partner agencies (Police, Probation and Health) second staff to the YOS with the skills to ensure that young offenders are diverted from re-offending, and those that are high risk offenders are effectively managed.

“Doncaster is also part of an innovative project with other South and West Yorkshire services and the secure establish working to keep young people from returning to custody.

“The project is a pilot programme overseen by the Youth Justice Board and is expected to last for at least three years.”

It says its work to help young people to avoid or stop offending starts with police cautions or conditional cautions through to sentencing following a court conviction.

The report states the service makes assessments across a number of important areas of young people’s lives and refers them on to the appropriate organisations as required.

It goes on to say that it uses a “light touch” to ensure that risk of re-offending is not increased by doing too much too soon.

Additionally, the service will tell councillors it wants to ensure young people are worked with within their own communities in the borough.

It adds that it also trying to make sure that it does not allow a culture of dependency on official agencies to be created.