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Why are young people put into custody (locked up)?

Custody is usually given to young people who have been found guilty of committing a very serious offence. The court can give you this kind of sentence if:

  • your crime is so serious there is no other option
  • you have committed bad crimes before
  • the judge or magistrate thinks you are a risk to the public

What happens when you are sent to custody?

When you are given a custodial sentence, you won’t be sent to an adult prison, but to a special secure center for young people.

Types of custody for young people

There are three types of custody for young people:

  • young offender institutions
  • secure training centres
  • secure children’s homes

How the decision is made about where you are sent?

This will depend on your age, whether you are a boy or girl, what needs you have and on where you live. You will be sent to a secure center that:

  • can manage your needs safely (for instance, if you have a history of drug use, or if you have been in custody before and found it difficult)
  • is suitable for your age
  • is as near to your home as possible
An organisation called the Youth Justice Board decides where you will go. They make this decision based on information given to them by the youth offending team and other youth justice workers.