Dramatic fall in the number of young adults in prison and serving community sentences

New statistics published by the Ministry of Justice have revealed that the number of young adults aged 18-24 in prison or serving a community sentences has fallen by more than a third since 2011. Their proportion as a share of the total caseload has also dropped by nearly 10%.

The number of young adults aged 18-24 serving community sentences is down by 40% in 5 years. In 2011, 54,262 young adults were serving either a community order or a suspended sentence order, accounting for 33% of all adults serving community sentences. In 2016, this had dropped to 31,846, 25% of the total.

In prison, the downward trend has been similarly dramatic. There was a 31% drop in number of young adults aged 18-24 in prison between 30 June 2011 and 30 June 2017. In 2011, 21,974 young adults aged 18-24 were in prison (26% of the total prison population), while in 2017 the number had reduced to 14,963 (17% of total).

Last year, the Justice Select Committee called upon the government to pursue a distinct approach for all young adults throughout the criminal justice process. David Lammy’s Report last week called on the government to extend the youth justice system beyond 18. While these structural and legislative changes are still some way off, the significant progress made in recent years to divert young adults away from the acute end of the criminal justice system is clear to see.

All of these statistics (published August 2017), and many more, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/offender-management-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2017