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Singled out

The detention of children should always be the last resort – the courts should not treat young protestors differently, argues Sophie Khan

15 August 2011

The detention of the young has always been a controversial issue, not just because of the impact that a custodial sentence will have on the young person but also because it shines a grim light on society as a whole in allowing the young to be locked up in this way.

The Lord Chancellor’s pledge to reduce the number of custodial sentences is yet to be seen, as many young adults are still incarcerated for their crime even when non-custodial sentences may have been more appropriate in the circumstances of some cases. There are between 2,000 to 3,000 children aged between ten and 17 in custody at any one time either under sentence or on remand in England and Wales, and there does not seem to be any effective steps being taken to reduce that number.

The recent student and anti-cut protests which saw mass arrests of young people across the country by officers from Operation Malone and Brontide have now resulted in protestors receiving custodial sentences. The first of the st...

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