Resignation Exposes Blair's Grotesque Legacy on Young People and Crime

January 26, 2007 4:25 PM

Commenting on Professor Rod Morgan's resignation as chairman of the Youth Justice Board and his attack on Government policy, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central and Party Youth Spokesperson, said:

"Professor Rod Morgan's stinging attack on Blair's disastrous criminal justice legacy is the latest piece of evidence that Labour have got it horribly wrong. I'm sure it won't be the last.

"His harsh critique is testament to this Government's decade long media-driven regime that has resulted in a record number of young people behind bars while paedophiles are being given breathing room outside jail after the Home Secretary's panic measures last week.

"Young people have been summarily demonised, crammed into prison places, with no hope of getting the rehabilitative care they need and ultimately been driven towards, rather than guided away from, a life of crime. It is no wonder that two-thirds of offenders re-offend within 2 years.

"The prison population for under 20 year olds has risen from under 2900 in 2000 to over 3300. There were 224 more young people behind bars last December than the year before and there has been a 25% increase in the number of young Welsh people imprisoned since last year.

"Wales has so few places to accommodate the conveyor belt of young offenders being sent to prison that 84% are held in England, hundreds of miles away from their friends and families.

"These support groups are essential in helping young people reform themselves and reintegrate back into society. Some Welsh young offenders are held as far away as Newcastle or Suffolk.

"Once again, the message from experts in the criminal justice system is that this Government is incapable of making the public safer and of reforming criminals to become law-abiding citizens."

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