Young people in custody

1. Overview

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