29 May 2019
Significant changes in Jersey’s Youth Justice System have resulted in substantial reductions in the number of young people entering the criminal justice system for the first time, a new report today reveals.
The Government of Jersey has today published the Youth Justice Review, which emerged from a recommendation by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.
The report proposes that young people should always be treated as children first and offenders second.
The review, which was conducted last year, revisits the treatment of children in Jersey’s criminal justice system, following a previous review in 2010.
It found that practice has been modernised and improved and the most significant issues raised in 2010 have been addressed.
The review, led by a UK expert, Professor Jonathan Evans from the University of South Wales, also found that the legislative recommendations have not yet been implemented and has made a number of recommendations.
The review also revealed a marked decline in the use of custody, which is in line with the UNCRC and other international guidelines.
It also commended the government’s multi-agency approach which was set up to support young people. The report found that the initiative improved school attendance, reduced school exclusions, reduced criminal offending and anti-social behaviour and reduced numbers of missing person episodes in a number of vulnerable young people.
This multi-agency initiative is continuing and involves the States of Jersey Police, the Probation Service, Children, Young People, Education and Skills, Jersey Sport, the Law Officers’ Department and the Honorary Police.
Senator Sam Mézec, Minister for Children, commented: “The Youth Justice Review is a direct response to an Independent Jersey Care Inquiry recommendation, and demonstrates that the government is addressing the concerns raised. The Youth Justice Review is intended to address a recommendation of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry that ‘the youth justice system move to a model that always treats young offenders as children first and offenders second’.
“The review makes a significant number of recommendations that have been accepted in principle by the Council of Ministers. These recommendations are significant and wide-ranging, and bringing them to fruition will require the commitment of time, resources and political will across all parts of the government.
“Officers in Justice and Home Affairs and Children, Young People, Education and Skills are now examining the recommendations in detail and will present a plan of action to the Council of Ministers by the autumn.”