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24 Feb 2017

Howard League responds to Youth Justice Board announcement

The Howard League for Penal Reform welcomes the appointment of Charlie Taylor as Chair of the Youth Justice Board, announced today (Friday 24 February) by the Ministry of Justice.

Ministers have also announced that the Youth Justice Board (YJB) will be reorganised, with the new HM Prison and Probation Service running both youth custody operations and contract management under a distinct Youth Custody Service, with commissioning for youth custody moved to within the Ministry of Justice.

The YJB will continue to provide independent scrutiny of the whole system, promoting early intervention in the community and sharing best practice across the system.

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “We welcome the appointment of Charlie Taylor as Chair of the Youth Justice Board, even if that organisation is shorn of many of its responsibilities in this latest announcement.

“There is certainly a case for change. The Youth Justice Board has recently overseen the abuse scandal at Medway secure training centre and declining safety levels in children’s prisons across the country. A more clearly defined role based on driving improvement across the system may well allow the agency to refocus itself.

“Yet it is far from clear why this means a prison service already in crisis should be given more responsibility for some of the most vulnerable children in the country. The Howard League will scrutinise these plans in detail over the coming months and will continue to push for radical changes in the way we deal with children in trouble with the law.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
  2. The Ministry of Justice statement can be read here:


Andrew Neilson
Director of Campaigns
The Howard League for Penal Reform
Tel: +44 (0)20 7241 7868

Mobile: +44 (0)7918 681094

ISDN line available on 020 7923 4196 – uses a G722 system


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