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Prison custody fatally flawed for children and young people
24 October 2012
Responding to today's news that 200 children and young people
have died while in prison custody over the past decade, Action
for Children is calling for youth custody to be considered only as
a last resort.
Through 140-plus years' experience of working with the most
vulnerable in society, the charity believes exploring alternatives
to prison custody is essential to offering young offenders the best
chance in life.
We run two-thirds of the original Intensive Fostering pilots (also known as
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care), which provide a substitute
for custody through a community-based sentence working with a
specially trained foster carer.
In a recent session at the Justice Select Committee, Action for
Children Director Hugh Thornbery said, "Intensive Fostering
captures the whole intervention: the foster placement for the young
person; the therapeutic interventions; the skills interventions;
and work with family that hopefully enables things to be more
stable if the young person returns home."
Hugh continued, "The fact that young people in Intensive
Fostering are five times less likely to reoffend over time than
those who go into custodial institutions we can begin to take
account of the broader social costs."