Letter: Home Secretary's crime proposals are short-sighted

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The Independent Online
Sir: As an organisation working with and for children and young people, we are very critical of the short-sighted proposals put forward by Michael Howard for dealing with young offenders.

The proposals are likely to increase, rather than decrease, the level of juvenile crime in the UK. This is because research has shown time and time again that locking up young offenders and subjecting them to punitive regime confirms young people in their offending behaviour rather than deterring them.

Mr Howard is proposing that the maximum one-year sentence in young offender institutions be doubled; that new secure training units be established to lock up persistent young offenders aged 12-14; and to end repeat cautioning, even of young offenders.

There is, of course, legitimate concern about juvenile offenders, but these measures will exacerbate the problem, not help to solve it.

Yours faithfully,

JENNY KUPER

The Children's Legal Centre

London, N1

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