The State of Youth Justice, a comprehensive analysis of the youth justice system, published by The National Association for Youth Justice, found that the Covid-19 pandemic has had serious consequences for children in prison, including a significantly reduced time for education as well as social interactions with the outside world.
The report, authored by Dr Tim Bateman, Reader in Youth Justice at the University of Bedfordshire, revealed that the provision of education to children in Young Offenders Institutions (YOIs) has been significantly reduced since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The study found that the time children spent out of cell varied from three hours a day to just 40 minutes. Contact with the outside world has been curtailed, with the consequence that children no longer have any face-to-face interaction with families or friends, nor visits from social workers or lawyers.
The report also highlights evidence of continued reductions in the criminalisation of children. For example, there has been a remarkable decline in the number of females entering the youth justice system. Girls’ detected indictable offending fell by an astonishing 95% between 1992 and 2018. However, statistics are uneven for young people from different ethnic groups. Almost one in three children arrested for a notifiable offence in 2019 were recorded as being black or from a minority ethnic group.