Statistics about children and the criminal justice system are shocking - and these numbers drive the work that we do. 

52% of children in custody in 2020/21 belonged to ethnic minority groups - 29% were Black, 14% were mixed heritage, 10% were Asian or Other, 47% were white and 1% was unknown.

The Howard League for Penal Reform reported that there were 63,272 child arrests in the UK in 2020.

of child arrests are for girls.

In 2020/21 there were an average of 560 children in custody at the end of any given month. 3% of these were aged 14 or younger. In 2020/21 5% of children’s custody episodes lasted for longer than 18 months. The average length of a custody episode was 91 nights – around 3 months.

Children aged 15 and 16 who are living in residential care homes are 15 times more likely to be criminalised than other children of the same age.

9 out of 10 children in custody dropped out of school for 6 months or more before being incarcerated (Little, 2015)

More than 2 thirds of children in custody have a Special Educational Need, which are often mislabelled, unrecognised, and unmet.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that arrest and any detention of a child should “be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time” (Article 37 - 1989).

of children released from custody reoffend within a year

Article 28 of the UNCRC says that children and young people have the right to education no matter who they are: regardless of race, gender or disability; if they're in detention, or if they're a refugee.


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