LETTER: Young offenders need support

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YOU REPORT the Howard League's welcome decision to seek judicial review of the non-application of the Children Act 1989 to the proposed secure training centres for 12- to 14-Year-old offenders ("Child jails face court test", 2 July).

The Home Office's stance flies in the face of its own research, which compared the experience of young offenders in local authority secure units, where the Children Act applies, and in prison service young offender institutions, where it does not. This concluded that the former provided better quality education; gave more help with young people's problems; equipped them with more qualifications, training and work experience and had significantly lower reconviction rates.

The Government should scrap its plan for secure training centres. Instead it should ensure that a better geographical spread of local authority secure places is available for juveniles who need to be held in a secure establishment.

Paul Cavadino

Penal Affairs Consortium

London SW9