Pri­son terms for teens in care

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

More than half of young peo­ple locked up last year were un­der the care of Kent County Coun­cil.

Eleven of the 20 teenagers from Kent who were sent to Cookham Wood young of­fend­ers’ in­sti­tu­tion and Med­way Se­cure Train­ing Cen­tre, both in Rochester, were in care. All the de­fen­dants, who were male and aged 15 to 17, were handed sen­tences of four months to more than five years.

And for ev­ery five young peo­ple re­manded in de­ten­tion wait­ing for trial, three were un­der the care of the county coun­cil.

Cor­po­rate direc­tor for chil­dren, young peo­ple and ed­u­ca­tion at Kent County Coun­cil, Matt Dunk­ley, told coun­cil­lors these fig­ures are im­prov­ing. In the past, he said, num­bers would be more like 80-100 young peo­ple.

He added the treat­ment of young delin­quents has im­proved with “a lot of time and pa­tience.”

Head of Kent youth jus­tice ser­vice, Louise Fisher, added that ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties have also im­proved for young peo­ple “to con­tinue with their as­pi­ra­tions and progress while in se­cure state”.

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