Crisis as kids overcrowd prisons

LONDON - The number of youths aged between 10 and 18 in custody in England and Wales threatens a "meltdown" of the system, the UK's Youth Justice Board said yesterday.

LONDON - The number of youths aged between 10 and 18 in custody in England and Wales threatens a "meltdown" of the system, the UK's Youth Justice Board said yesterday.

"More than 3350 youngsters are in custody. The youth justice system has just a handful of bed spaces left," said the board's Rod Morgan.

The board's assessment - backed by the chief inspector of prisons for England and Wales and the children's commissioner for England - is that too many young convicted offenders are being taken into custody.

The board is responsible for placing children and youngsters under 18, either sentenced or remanded by the courts, in secure accommodation. - Sapa

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