Out of trouble publications

(Click on a cover to download a publication)

Criminal Damage

Produced at the start of Out of Trouble in 2008, Criminal Damage presents the key facts on child imprisonment in England and Wales and sets out 12 ways to reduce the number of children in custody, including: devolving the child custody budget to local authorities, reducing the use of custodial remand and preventing child imprisonment for non-violent offences. It also includes the results of a public opinion survey which asked over 1,000 adults for their views on the most effective way of dealing with young people who commit non-violent offences.(2008)




Children: innocent until proven guilty

Focusing on an area of youth justice policy and practice which had thus far received little attention, Children: Innocent until proven guilty? asks why the number of children imprisoned on remand has risen so dramatically in recent years, and puts forward a 12 point action plan for change. (2009)





Children: innocent until proven guilty (briefing)

An accompanying briefing produced in conjunction with the full report on the overuse of remand, which presents the key facts and our 12 point action plan for change. (2009)





Reducing child imprisonment in England and Wales - lessons from abroad

Commissioned by Out of Trouble, Lessons from Abroad looks at examples of policy and practice from around the world which have successfully reduced child imprisonment, from the introduction of new primary legislation in Canada to after-school reporting clubs in America and the use of specialist youth prosecutors in Germany. The report considers these, and many other, examples of innovative approaches to addressing youth crime and asks whether policymakers and practitioners in England and Wales could learn from their international counterparts. (2009)



Making Amends: restorative youth justice in Northern Ireland


A study of the introduction of restorative justice into the youth justice system of Northern Ireland in 2003, Making Amends looks at how the Youth Conference Service of Northern Ireland operates, its success in engaging with victims and the wider community and the impact it has had on reoffending rates and the number of children who are sentenced to custody.  It also questions whether a similar focus on restorative justice in England and Wales might better serve both victims and children in the youth justice system here. (2009)




 Vulnerable Defendants in the Criminal Courts: a review of provision for adults and children

A Prison Reform Trust report looking at the treatment of vulnerable defendants within the criminal courts in England and Wales. Covering both adults and children, the report assesses existing provision for two groups of vulnerable defendant, identifies gaps in provision and makes recommendations for change. (2009)




Punishing Disadvantage - a profile of children in custody

At any given time, between 2,000-3,000 children are in custody, under sentence or on remand, in England and Wales. This study, which undertook a census of nearly 6,000 children imprisoned in the second half of 2008 asked: who are these children, and why and how do they come to be in custody?

No survey on this scale has been conducted in the last 25 years. As such, this study is a significant addition to our understanding of youth custody. (2010)



Seen and Heard: supporting vulnerable children in the youth justice system

A Prison Reform Trust and Association of YOT Managers report, based on a survey of staff in half of all youth offending teams in England and Wales, which looks at the identification and assessment of children with learning disabilities, communication difficulties and mental health problems in the youth justice system. (2010)




Into the Breach - the enforcement of statutory orders in the youth justice system

Commissioned from NCB, this report is the first piece of primary research into children who breach. It features an analysis of existing data and learning from qualitative research with children, practitioners and magistrates. Some of the findings chime with common sense, but some are surprising – in some areas, for instance, every single Asbo given to 10 and 11 year olds was breached. (2011)




Last resort? Exploring the reduction in child imprisonment 2008-11

The number of children imprisoned in England and Wales at any one time has fallen by 30% since 2008.

This briefing seeks to identify the factors which have contributed to this reduction, to ensure the trend is maintained and so that learning from this age group can be applied to others, in particular young adults. (2011)




Punishing Disadvantage - a summary

A summary version of the full report, this briefing highlights the main findings of the core research and the recommendations for policy change. (2011)





Care a stepping stone to custody?

Looked after children account for less than 1% of the total child population, but have long been over-represented in the youth justice system. The latest survey of 15-18 year olds in young offender institutions found that more than a quarter of the boys, and half the girls, were or had been looked after at some point previously. (2011)





Old enough to know better?

At the end of September 2011, there were 8,317 young people aged 18-20 in prison in England and Wales. 18-25 year olds make up a tenth of the general population as a whole, but one third of those sent to prison every year, one third of the probation caseload and are responsible for a third of the total social and economic costs of crime. (2012)




Fair access to justice? Support for vulnerable defendants in the criminal courts

A briefing for frontline staff in the criminal justice system and the NHS, explaining how those with a learning disability who have to appear in court as a victim or witness are given extra support or 'special measures' to help them understand and cope with the process.

Recommendations include that child defendants should have equal access to registered intermediaries, in preparation for, and during, court proceedings, in the same way that child witnesses currently do. (2012)



Fatally Flawed: Has the state learned lessons from the deaths of children and young people in prison?

This report by INQUEST and the Prison Reform Trust considers the 169 children and young people who died in prison between 2003-2011, and asks whether the state learn lessons from their deaths. It includes an in-depth analysis of the circumstances of 98 of those who died, finding that many were known to have been vulnerable prior to their imprisonment, their lives characterised by mental health need or self-harm, problems with drug or alcohol use, disruption and loss. Yet often these children and young people were not assessed as being at risk of harm once in prison. (2012)



An independent review of the Out of Trouble programme

In April 2007, The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund awarded the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) a grant of £1.5 million in support of a five year strategy to reduce the number of children and young people imprisoned in the UK. By May 2012, the work of the strategy had contributed to a reduction in the number of children imprisoned in England and Wales by 42%.

This report is not intended to tell you everything about the Out of Trouble programme, but rather to communicate stories, principles and lessons which might be of broad interest.



Turning Young Lives Around

This briefing paper seeks to encourage effective joint working between Health and Wellbeing Boards and youth justice services, in particular, to ensure that local strategies reflect the needs of children and young people who offend, especially those with mental health problems and learning disabilities. It outlines a practical action agenda and provides examples of good practice to help turn these young lives around.