To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the size of the juvenile custodial population is; what assessment he has made of recent and likely future trends in that population; and what assessment has been made of required levels of future capacity in the juvenile custodial estate.
At the end of January 2009 (the latest date for which verified figures are available) there were 2,096 young people under-18 in custody.
Over the last 18 months, there has been a very significant decrease in the size of the under-18 custodial population. At the end of June 2008, there were 3,029 young people in custody. Since then, the population has fallen by 31 per cent. In the light of this developing trend, the Youth Justice Board has acted to remove spare capacity in the under-18 estate, beginning with the decommissioning of under-18 places at Brinsford YOI. In addition, we have recently announced the decommissioning of places at Castington YOI. We will continue to keep the under-18 population under review and to ensure that the capacity of the estate is adjusted to take account of the number of young people it needs to accommodate.