Lambeth children in trouble with the law ‘set up to fail’ by expensive tagging system, claims prison charity

Children are being tagged and sent to jail due to failings in a system that was designed to protect them, a report released today has claimed, with Lambeth Council being one of the worst offenders.

Lambeth Council was among the 26 authorities who put ten or more children under intensive supervision and surveillance last year.

The Howard League for Penal Reform has researched the matter and found that more than 1000 children are being put under intensive supervision and surveillance (ISS) after being released from prison.

Their report They couldn’t do it to a grown-up: Tagging children without due process goes into the extent of damage ISS is causing to children in prison.

Many children are placed in ISS even though they have failed the programme before, this means they are put back in custody – leading to an increase in crime statistics.

The flaws in ISS have also led to children being charged four times for the same crime.

This is backed up by data from the Ministry of Justice that reveals between 30 and 50% of children on ISS re-offend.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This is part of a confused criminal justice system that muddles punishment with welfare for children. It is setting children up to fail. We are punishing children repeatedly over several years for a single offence and this cannot be fair.”

The prison charity are calling on the government to end the injustice of ISS arguing it is also too costly and stating that the Ministry of Justice spent £1.4million on ISS in 2010-11.

The children are released midway through their detention and training order (DTO) and continue to be put under ISS.

The Howard League for Penal Reform argues that ISS is largely responsible for the number of children currently detained.

They found that although the decision to enforce ISS is meant to be taken by the Justice Secretary, the decision is actually being made on a local level.

The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the UK and it works to get fewer people in prison, have less crime and have safer communities.

Picture courtesy of Alice Lucchin, with thanks

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