HC Deb 28 May 2004 vol 422 cc250-1W
Mr. George Howarth

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what review has been undertaken of the use of four-month detention and training orders as provided for under the powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 in relation to dealing with disorder amongst young people. [172322]

Paul Goggins

I have been asked to reply.

The detention and training order is the main custodial sentence for 12–17 year olds: the minimum term is four months and the maximum 24 months. Time spent in custody is followed by an equivalent period in the community.

The DTO is one of a range of options available to courts dealing with young offenders. Most disorder offences would not normally attract custody: the tests for the court are whether the offence or offences in question are so serious that a custodial sentence is the only adequate response; or, where an offence is violent or sexual, whether custody is necessary to protect the public from serious harm from the offender.

Research commissioned by the Youth Justice Board on the first two years' operation of the DTO found that, in the main, the combination of custody and community supervision worked well. It concluded that greater cooperation across the youth justice system would help to meet the needs of DTO trainees, including the need to prevent reoffending. The Youth Justice Board is addressing this.

Following consultation in its 8 September 2003 paper Youth Justice—The Next Steps, the Government proposes to keep the DTO and simplify the range of available community sentences. We also intend to introduce a new Intensive Supervision and Surveillance order for use with serious and persistent young offenders.