Our latest report recommends that local authorities should foot the bill for youth custody places, thereby removing the existing perverse incentive in the system. At present, local authorities have a financial disincentive to keep young people out of prison. Youth custody is funded centrally, meaning that when troubled young people are imprisoned, they are taken out of local agencies’ caseloads and budgets.
Arrested Development also makes a number of recommendations to refocus efforts and budgets on keeping young people out of prison in the first place through crime prevention strategies. The report highlights the potential for a significant reduction in the youth custodial population through reduced youth crime. We estimate that up to 600 places could be made redundant and converted into places in the adult estate.”