Young people in custody

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in every ethnic group, the number of young people in youth custody went down between 2005/06 and 2017/18
  • in the same period, the percentage of the youth custody population that was from the Black ethnic group doubled
  • White young people made up 54.6% of young people in custody in 2017/18, down from 71.9% in 2005/06 (but still the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups)
  • in 2017/18, more young people were in custody for violence against the person than any other type of offence
Things you need to know

If a young person has more than one custodial order at the same time, the data is based on the most serious custodial order.

The data is from the Youth Justice Board database, which includes young people in:

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

The Youth Justice Board changed its database and the way it recorded some data in March 2012. Until then, most breaches of a statutory order were recorded as a separate type of offence. This change may account for a large decrease in the percentage of young people sentenced for breaching a statutory order from 2012/13 onwards.

This data does not include young people in police custody.

Young people whose ethnicity wasn’t known accounted for 0.7% of all young people in custody in 2017/18. This group is shown separately in the analysis of young people in custody by ethnicity over time.

What the data measures

The data measures the average number of young people (aged 10 to 17 years) in custody each year between 2005/06 and 2017/18.

The data is broken down by:

  • ethnicity
  • type of offence (‘offence group’)
  • type of custodial order (‘legal basis for detention’).

On a specific day every month, the number of young people in custody is counted. Because the number of young people in custody varies from month to month, an average is worked out for each 12-month period (1 April to 31 March).

Custodial orders are broken down as follows:

  • a section 91 order is used for custodial sentences of more than 24 months for serious crimes (except murder), and can only be passed by a Crown Court
  • a Detention and Training Order (DTO) is 4 to 24 months long and includes both custody and training – it can only be used for young people aged 12 to 17 years old
  • remand is when the young person is put into youth detention accommodation when they have been charged with an offence and are detained until a trial or sentencing hearing
  • other sentences, which include detention for public protection (‘section 226’), extended sentences (‘section 226B’) and life sentence for murder with a minimum period in custody (‘section 90’)

‘Other offences’ in this data include:

  • arson
  • breach of bail
  • criminal damage
  • death or injury by dangerous driving
  • fraud and forgery
  • motoring offences
  • non-domestic burglary
  • public order offences
  • racially aggravated offences
  • theft and handling stolen goods
  • vehicle theft or unauthorised taking
The ethnic categories used in this data

The youth custody population was too small to make any reliable generalisations about specific ethnic groups.

Therefore, the data is broken down into the following 4 broad groups:

Asian/Asian British and Other Black/African/Caribbean/Black British Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups White

There’s an extra category for young people whose ethnicity wasn’t known.

For the data covering types of crime and types of custodial order, the following 2 categories have been used:

  • White (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
  • Other (all other ethnic minorities)

2. Young people in custody by ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of young people in custody by ethnicity over time
Black Mixed White Other inc Asian Unknown
Time Black % Black Number Mixed % Mixed Number White % White Number Other inc Asian % Other inc Asian Number Unknown % Unknown Number
2005/06 12.5 355 7.0 198 71.7 2,031 5.2 147 3.5 100
2006/07 13.4 390 7.1 208 70.5 2,056 5.3 154 3.7 107
2007/08 13.6 399 7.0 206 71.2 2,087 4.1 119 4.1 121
2008/09 14.0 402 6.5 188 66.3 1,909 4.9 142 8.4 242
2009/10 14.1 340 6.9 168 67.9 1,641 6.0 146 5.1 123
2010/11 17.2 351 6.0 123 63.9 1,303 6.5 133 6.4 130
2011/12 15.7 308 6.1 119 61.9 1,216 6.8 134 9.5 186
2012/13 21.0 325 8.7 135 59.1 912 7.6 118 3.5 54
2013/14 22.4 272 9.3 113 60.0 730 8.3 101 0.1 1
2014/15 21.1 219 9.7 101 60.5 627 8.7 90 0.1 1
2015/16 21.4 205 9.8 94 57.9 556 10.4 100 0.5 5
2016/17 23.4 203 11.3 98 54.4 472 10.3 90 0.6 6
2017/18 25.3 226 10.4 93 54.3 485 9.3 83 0.7 6

Download table data for ‘Young people in custody by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Young people in custody by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, the average number of young people in custody was 894, about one-third the number in 2005/06 (2,831)
  • between 2005/06 and 2017/18, the number of young people in custody went down for all ethnic groups – the biggest decrease was in the White ethnic group, from 2,031 to 485
  • White young people made up 54.6% of young people in custody in 2017/18, down from 71.9% in 2005/06 (but still the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups)
  • between 2005/06 and 2017/18, the percentage of young people in custody who were Black doubled from 12.5% to 25.3%
  • the percentage of young people in custody who were from Asian and Other backgrounds also increased, from 5.2% to 9.3%

3. Young people in custody by ethnicity and type of custodial order over time

Percentage of young people in custody by ethnicity and type of custodial order over time
White Other than White
Year White Remand White DTO White Section 91 White Other Sentences Other than White Remand Other than White DTO Other than White Section 91 Other than White Other Sentences
2010/11 21.8 61.7 12.9 3.6 32.6 42.6 19.0 5.9
2011/12 21.4 63.7 11.5 3.4 28.5 49.3 17.9 4.4
2012/13 18.2 64.5 14.2 3.1 26.6 48.2 21.7 3.5
2013/14 18.2 64.1 14.5 3.2 26.0 46.0 24.4 3.5
2014/15 18.5 59.6 18.0 4.0 30.1 44.2 21.6 4.1
2015/16 19.2 58.1 18.9 3.8 26.1 43.5 24.9 5.5
2016/17 17.7 55.5 22.2 4.6 25.2 41.9 26.6 6.3
2017/18 19.4 52.9 22.9 4.8 30.1 35.7 27.8 6.4

Download table data for ‘Young people in custody by ethnicity and type of custodial order over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Young people in custody by ethnicity and type of custodial order over time’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, just over half (52.9%) of White young people in custody were held on a Detention and Training Order (DTO), 22.9% had a section 91 order, 19.4% were on remand, and 4.8% had another type of custodial order
  • in the same period, 35.7% of young people from all other ethnic groups combined were held on a DTO, 30.1% were on remand, 27.8% had a section 91 order, and 6.4% had another type of custodial order
  • a higher percentage of young people from both the White and Other ethnic groups had a section 91 order, given for more serious crimes, compared with 7 years ago
  • a lower percentage of young people from the Other ethnic group were on remand in 2017/18 (30.1%) than they were 7 years ago (32.6%)

4. Young people in custody by ethnicity and offence group

Percentage of young people in custody by ethnicity and offence group over time
Breach of statutory order Domestic Burglary Drugs Robbery Sexual offences Violence against the person Other offences
Year Breach of statutory order % White Breach of statutory order % Other Domestic Burglary % White Domestic Burglary % Other Drugs % White Drugs % Other Robbery % White Robbery % Other Sexual offences % White Sexual offences % Other Violence against the person % White Violence against the person % Other Other offences % White Other offences % Other
2010/11 19.5 9.4 17.9 7.2 2.4 10.4 18.4 31.3 4.6 5.3 21.9 28.5 15.3 7.9
2011/12 17.2 8.9 17.4 7.9 2.1 9.1 22.4 34.3 4.0 2.8 19.7 25.1 17.2 11.9
2012/13 9.6 4.5 21.2 7.9 1.6 7.6 24.4 40.0 6.1 3.9 20.9 25.5 16.3 10.6
2013/14 2.9 1.3 21.4 7.0 2.0 9.5 27.2 40.3 7.3 5.0 22.0 29.9 17.2 6.9
2014/15 2.2 1.7 18.7 7.2 3.9 7.5 25.0 35.9 9.8 6.2 27.0 35.7 13.3 5.7
2015/16 1.8 1.4 15.8 6.1 3.9 12.6 23.3 26.9 12.1 6.2 29.8 39.8 13.4 6.9
2016/17 0.3 0.3 14.7 5.4 4.7 11.2 22.1 25.1 13.7 3.5 29.7 47.3 14.8 7.3
2017/18 3.1 1.8 13.3 5.4 4.6 8.8 19.3 22.1 12.4 3.8 32.3 50.2 15.0 8.1

Download table data for ‘Young people in custody by ethnicity and offence group’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Young people in custody by ethnicity and offence group’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, 32.3% of White young people and 50.2% of those from all other ethnic groups combined were held in youth custody for violence against the person offences – higher than for any other type of offence
  • a lower percentage of White young people were held in custody for drugs offences (4.6%) compared with those from all other ethnic groups combined (8.8%)
  • a higher percentage of White young people were held in custody for sexual offences (12.4%) compared with those from all other ethnic groups combined (3.8%)
  • between 2010/11 and 2017/18, the percentage of White young people held in custody for robbery increased from 18.4% to 19.3%, while the percentage of those from all other ethnic groups combined decreased from 31.3% to 22.1%

5. Methodology

Young people report their own ethnicity. Staff working in secure training centres and young offender institutions then record this information.

The numbers of young people in custody are counted at the beginning of each month. They are updated to include new admissions during the month, and then averaged across a 12-month period.

Rounding

Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal point. Due to this, some figures may not add up to 100. Counts have been rounded to the nearest whole number. All calculations have been made using unrounded figures.

Related publications

Youth justice statistics

Quality and methodology information

6. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Ministry of Justice

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The data is used by the government to develop, monitor and evaluate criminal justice policy for young offenders in England and Wales.

7. Download the data