Young prisoners on fast track to justice

PERSISTENT young criminals are being brought before the courts in Suffolk quicker than most other places in England and Wales, it has been revealed.Latest figures published by the Suffolk Criminal Justice Board show the county is the second best-performing in England in terms of the speed at which young offenders are sentenced after arrest.

PERSISTENT young criminals are being brought before the courts in Suffolk quicker than most other places in England and Wales, it has been revealed.

Latest figures published by the Suffolk Criminal Justice Board show the county is the second best-performing in England in terms of the speed at which young offenders are sentenced after arrest.

The Government set a target in 1997 to bring all young repeat offenders to sentence within 71 days of arrest in a bid to speed up the way young criminals were dealt with.

But Suffolk has exceeded the criteria by making it within 39 days, ranking the county second out of 44 police forces behind just Dyfed Powys in Wales.


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The figures represent September to December last year and follow last year's performance in which the county was placed in joint first with Gloucestershire.

In 1997, Suffolk was sentencing youth offenders on average 140 days after arrest but has now processes them within six weeks.

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Chris Yule, Suffolk's Chief Prosecutor and chair of the Suffolk Criminal Justice Board, said: "These figures are a positive way to mark the first anniversary of Suffolk Criminal Justice Board.

"There are obvious benefits to all parties in bringing persistent young offenders to justice more quickly.

"By actively fast-tracking these cases we increase the chance of breaking the habit of crime that persistent offenders often fall into. The shorter time frame also helps limit the stress to victims and witnesses of crime."

Mr Yule added: "The figures demonstrate the progress we have made and the commitment we share to joint working. I am delighted that we continue to make significant progress towards our targets for the year.

"However, there is still a long way to go and the Suffolk CJB will continue to work hard together to make further improvements in our second year."

The Suffolk Criminal Justice Board was set up in April 2003 to manage the criminal justice system in the county.

The latest figures, which are published quarterly, mark the anniversary of the board.

Members of the public are invited to express their own views on crime at a consultation event on May 11 at Ipswich Town Hall, as part of a twice-yearly public consultation process.

Board representatives will be present between 1pm and 3pm and also between 5pm and 7pm.

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