County’s criminals help with prison research

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YOUNG offenders from Sheffield and Rotherham have been interviewed as part of a research project which found sending children to jail sets them up to fail.

The Howard League for Penal Reform asked ex-offenders from Sheffield, Rotherham, Leeds, Birmingham and London about their experiences of the criminal justice system - and concluded jailing young people and then supervising them in the community on their release should be scrapped.

The Reform group said dealing with youth crime by jail leaves young prisoners feeling excluded from society.

“In the main, children and young people in the youth justice system come from backgrounds of social and economic disadvantage,” the report says.

“Their experiences within the system reinforce their perceptions as a ‘collective other’, furthering their feelings of being disenfranchised and detached from society and eroding their hopes of positive futures.

“The youth justice system is not the appropriate response to the majority of children and young people and does little other than reinforce negative identities and behaviour.” The report suggests crime prevention and early intervention with offenders should be a priority.