1. Overview

People under 18 who are sentenced to custody aren’t sent to adult prisons, but to secure centres for young people.

Why young people are sent to custody

A court can give a young person a custodial sentence if:

  • the crime is so serious there is no other suitable option
  • the young person has committed crimes before
  • the judge or magistrate thinks the young person is a risk to the public

A young person can also be sent to custody on remand.

The Youth Justice Board decides which secure centre a young person will be sent to.

They will choose somewhere that:

  • can deal with the young person’s needs safely (eg if they have a health problem)
  • is suitable for their age, sex and background
  • is as near to their home as possible

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