Draft sentencing guideline: overarching principles - sentencing youths, tenth report of session 2008-09, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence

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The Stationery Office, Aug 13, 2009 - Law - 86 pages
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The Committee considers that the "Overarching principles - sentencing youths" is a crucial sentencing guideline. It fills a critical gap, setting out for youth courts the basis upon which they should sentence offenders under the age of 18 - guidance which the youth courts have not previously had. The Committee's response highlights the key issues raised in evidence to it, for example, the apparent inconsistency in approaches to sentencing children, and a varied understanding among sentencers of the concept that custody should only ever be a "sentence of last resort" for young people. The Committee also stresses that courts should have access to information about a young offender's mental health, learning difficulties and communication problems to enable the most appropriate sentence to be imposed. The evidence the Committee took on this draft sentencing guideline highlighted key areas in relation to youth justice deserving of further scrutiny, such as the use of remand and provisions for offenders aged 18-24, and it will consider how to pursue these areas further in its work.

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