Councils are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of all young people in their areas. When it comes to youth justice, that responsibility means working with young people to prevent them from coming into the youth justice system in the first place, and supporting those who do to make sure it doesn’t define them, and they still have good life chances.
There are many varying and complex reasons young people may end up involved in crime. In the majority of cases, those reasons are issues that we, as local authorities working with our partners, can help young people to tackle. They cover everything from difficult family relationships, to drug and alcohol misuse, to mental health issues or problems at school. When young people do get involved in crime, we need to make sure that they not only understand the impact of their offences and work to make amends, but are supported to address underlying needs. Councils are not there to punish, but to protect.
Where a young person is given a custodial sentence, we also need to do all we can to make sure they are safe. While councils have no direct control over most institutions, this pack outlines some of the ways in which they can support young people in custody, and the Local Government Association (LGA) will continue to lobby the Government for improved safety in youth custodial institutions.
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