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Publications · Sentencing and the law, Young People

What’s wrong with remanding children to prison?

Remand briefing one: Emerging themes

The Howard League for Penal Reform launched a project in Spring 2021 to tackle the surge in the use of remand for children in prison. This report summarises the project’s emerging themes and highlights particular concerns about the failure of services around them.

Almost half of all children in custody in England and Wales are being held on remand, despite the fact around two-thirds of children remanded to custody will not go on to receive a prison sentence. The number of children remanded to custody increased between 2017 and 2019, even though the number of children sentenced to custody has been falling since the late 2000s.

Howard League lawyers found that children were spending months on remand. Some children could not apply for bail, or had their bail applications rejected, because the local authority had not found them a safe place to live.

Howard League lawyers began working with staff at a children’s prison in March 2021 to identify children on remand with unmet legal support needs with a view to understanding why they were there and to see if they could be supported to get bail.

This report is the first in a series of publications which will discuss the experiences of children on remand and how practitioners can effectively support children with bail applications and resettlement.

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