I will not be drawn into more general arguments about the youth offenders system. When we came to office in 1997, we felt strongly that the system of youth justice was not as it should be and needed major reform. For that reason, we made important policy commitments in the area and established the regime that we have.
I concede that the kind of approach that we have talked about in relation to young offenders may have important lessons for the future as we go up the age range. Certainly, that must be the case if redemption is to be a possibility in the criminal justice system. The reason that we have decided that young people should be the priority—and the hon. Gentleman will be familiar with it—is that that is where the problem is greatest and where early intervention is most important to prevent the development of offending habits.