Wales has No Room Left for its Young Offenders

October 26, 2006 4:50 PM

Commenting on the discovery by Mick Bates AM, that the 50 Custodial Places for Young Offenders available in Wales are all occupied, Jenny Willott MP and Liberal Democrat Youth Spokesperson, said:

"The Government has got it badly wrong. Locking up more and more young people for long periods of time without looking ahead at where they will be kept is hopelessly incompetent.

"Young offenders in Wales will now have to be imprisoned miles and miles away from their friends and families. Without regular access to these support groups, moving them away from a life of crime will be much harder.

"The Government must get a grip of this problem and decide whether to build more prison places for young offenders, or to use alternative forms of punishment and rehabilitation.

"Protecting the public and cutting the number of victims of crime has to be the number one priority. But there is no evidence that locking people away for long periods of time actually cuts re-offending.

"If all that happens when we lock people away is that they come out more likely to commit crimes than before, then the system has failed them and failed the rest of us.

"I would like to see the Government using the most effective alternative sentences much more, such as tough community service, rigorous rehabilitation programmes and close surveillance."

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