Press release

9% fewer children entering the youth justice system than a year ago

The number of children entering the youth justice system for the first time has fallen by 9% in 2014/15.

Youth Justice Board for England and Wales

This is a reduction from 22,648 in 2013/14 to 20,544 according to the Annual Youth Justice Statistics.

The figures also show that there are fewer young people committing offences than ever before, with the number of proven offences, falling to 87,160 - down 4% on 2013/14. Similarly the number of young people in custody, has fallen to 1,037 on average in 2014/15 – down 15% on the average for 2013/14.

The number of young people in the reoffending cohort from 2013/14 (the period for which we have the latest data) has also decreased by 20%, and the number of reoffenders and reoffences have fallen by 15% and 12% respectively. However, as the size of the total offender cohort has fallen by a greater proportion than the number of reoffenders, the reoffending rate has increased. The reoffending rate rose by 1.9 percentage points compared with 2012/13, to 38%.

Historically the reoffending rate for 10 to 14 year olds has been lower than that for 15 to 17 year olds, but now the reoffending rate for 10 to 14 year olds is higher than that for 15 to 17 year olds (38.9% and 37.8% respectively).

Lin Hinnigan, the YJB’s Chief Executive said:

It is very encouraging to see 2,100 fewer young people entered the youth justice system, that there are even fewer in custody and the number of proven offences is falling.

Reducing reoffending remains a priority for us. We are drilling down into the data to examine how the frequency and seriousness of offending has changed and we continue to develop and share effective practice in addressing reoffending behaviour with others in the sector.

Lin Hinnigan added:

The high proportion of young people in the youth justice system from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds (20%), remains very disappointing. We are working directly with Youth Offending Teams where we see the highest levels of BAME children in the system. But it remains a priority for us all to drive change which can impact this disproportionality.

Notes to editors:

  • These statistics concentrate on the flow of young people through the Youth Justice System (YJS) from the 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015 (hereafter 2014/15).
  • The data, which is collated by the Home office, Ministry of Justice and Youth Justice Board, shows that compared with 2013/14 there have been, 13%, or 14,513, fewer young people aged under 18 arrested; 9%, or 2,104 fewer first time entrants to the youth justice system, and 10%, or 3,402 fewer young people sentenced.
  • The data for reoffending covers the cohort in 2013/14. This information is presented on re-offending for those who finished their period of custody or had an outcome for the original offence in 2013/14. A year is allocated, after the reference period, to establish if a person in the cohort re-offends, and then a further period of six months is allowed for, to enable them to go through the courts process.
  • The number of offenders in the reoffending cohort has fallen to 42,229 – down 20% on 2013/14. The number of reoffenders, has fallen to 16,083– down 15% on 2013/14. And the number of reoffences has fallen to 50,184– down 12% on 2013/14.
  • This publication starts by looking at the number of young people arrested or given youth cautions (previously reprimands and final warnings. It then goes on to look at those who are entering the system for the first time. The publication continues to describe the characteristics of young people who have been convicted, in terms of their demographics.
  • The publication also covers the proven offences committed by young people and the sentences they received. There are separate chapters on the use of remand (both in custody and in the community) for young people; details of the profile of young people in custody and behaviour management in the youth secure estate, including use of force recorded under the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint system, which is used in parts of the youth secure estate..
  • BAME figures for the general population aged 10-17 break down as 4% is black; 9% is Asian; and 4% is mixed.
Published 28 January 2016