People under 18 who are sentenced to custody are sent to secure centres for young people, not to adult prisons.
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