COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Coalition demands amendment to Bill on youth justice

A coalition of nine children's charities and penal reform groups called for an "urgent overhaul" of the youth justice system as Parliament debated the Criminal Justice Bill last week.

The Children's Society, NCH, Barnardo's, Children's Rights Alliance for England, the Howard League for Penal Reform, Nacro, National Children's Bureau, NSPCC and the National Association of Youth Justice attacked the Bill for "failing to consider the needs of young people who are in trouble with the law".

The coalition is supporting an amendment to the Bill tabled by Hilton Dawson, MP for Lancaster and Wyre, that recommends establishing three main principles across the youth justice system.

The principles are that custody should only be used as a last resort, welfare of children should be paramount and decisions taken should be in the child's best interests.

The coalition believes the Bill, as it stands, will "further complicate" existing legislation on youth crime and it is time for a "fundamental review" of the whole youth justice system addressing the welfare of children in prisons and the root causes of offending.

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