Asbos now seen as a 'badge of honour'

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The Independent Online

Antisocial behaviour orders have become a "badge of honour" among some young people, and many youth workers have serious reservations about them, according to a survey by the Youth Justice Board.

The in-depth survey also found that 49 per cent of under-18s breached their Asbos. Parents and carers of young people given the orders said they were viewed as a "diploma" and boosted a child's street cred.

"I know a boy that's hell-bent on getting an Asbo because he feels left out," said the mother of three young men who were all on Asbos.

Asbos were introduced in 1999 and allow magistrates to impose conditions on a person's behaviour in an attempt to stop them acting in an antisocial way.

But a district judge told researchers that youngsters who breached orders were often not properly punished."The danger is that you would increase the [prison] population enormously if we ... enforced Asbos fully," the judge said. "So I think ... there are quite a lot of people breaching orders and not a lot happening to them when they do."

Analysis of 137 Asbo cases found 67, or 49 per cent, had breached their order at least once. Of the breachers, 42 (31 per cent of the total) broke their conditions more than once.