Young people in custody

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in the 14 years to March 2019, the number of young people in youth custody went down in every ethnic group
  • in the year ending March 2019, 27.8% of people in youth custody were Black – more than double the percentage in the year ending March 2006 (12.5%)
  • White people made up around half (50.6%) of young people in custody in the year ending March 2019, compared with 71.7% in the year ending March 2006
  • in the year ending March 2019, 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, this data uses the most serious custodial order.

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

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

There was a big decrease in the percentage of young people sentenced for breaching a statutory order from year ending March 2013 onwards. This may be because the Youth Justice Board changed the way it recorded such breaches in March 2012. This data does not include young people held in police custody.

In the year ending March 2019, ethnicity was not known for 1.1% of young people in custody. The analysis of young people in custody by ethnicity over time includes figures for this group.

What the data measures

The data shows the average number of young people (10 to 17 year olds) in custody each year between April 2005 and March 2019.

The number of young people in custody is counted on the same date every month. Because of changes from month to month, an average is worked out for each 12-month period (1 April to 31 March).

The data is separated by:

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

The 4 types of custodial order shown are:

  • section 91 – used by Crown Courts for custodial sentences of more than 24 months for serious crimes (except murder)
  • Detention and Training Order – 4 to 24 months long, for 12 to 17 year olds, and includes both custody and training
  • remand – used when a young person is waiting for their trial or sentencing hearing
  • other sentences – including 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 number of young people in youth custody was too small to make reliable generalisations about specific ethnic groups. Because of this, we show data for 4 ethnic groups:

  • Black
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other (including Asian)

We include an extra category for young people whose ethnicity wasn’t known.

For types of offence and custodial order, we show data for 2 ethnic groups to make sure estimates are reliable:

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

2. By ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of young people in custody by ethnicity over time
Black Mixed White Other including 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
2018/19 27.8 239 11.7 100 50.6 434 8.8 76 1.1 10

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Young people in custody By ethnicity over time Summary

The data shows that on average:

  • 859 young people were in youth custody in the year ending March 2019, compared with 2,832 in the year ending March 2006
  • between 2005/06 and 2018/19, the number of young people in custody went down in every ethnic group
  • the biggest decrease was in the White ethnic group which fell from 2,031 to 434
  • in the same period, the percentage of young people in custody who were Black more than doubled from 12.5% to 27.8%
  • the percentage of young people in custody who were White went down from 71.9% to 50.6%
  • the percentage of young people in custody who were from Asian and Other backgrounds combined went up from 5.2% to 8.9%

3. 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
2018/19 23.8 45.2 25.6 5.4 32.5 28.1 31.3 8.0

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and type of custodial order over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and type of custodial order over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Young people in custody By ethnicity and type of custodial order over time Summary

Data is only shown for 2 ethnic groups to make sure figures are reliable.

The data shows that in the year ending March 2019:

  • 45.2% of White people in youth custody had a Detention and Training Order
  • 25.6% had a section 91 order (given for more series offences), 23.8% were on remand, and 5.4% had another type of custodial order
  • 32.5% of young people from all other ethnic groups combined ('Other than White') were on remand
  • 31.3% had a section 91 order, 28.1% had a Detention and Training Order, and 8.0% had another type of custodial order
  • a higher percentage of young people from both the White and Other than White ethnic groups had a section 91 order compared with 8 years ago

4. By ethnicity and type of offence

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
2018/19 8.2 4.5 10.6 4.5 2.8 5.6 14.8 15.9 8.5 2.8 40.6 61.1 14.5 5.6

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and type of offence’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and type of offence’ (CSV)

Summary of Young people in custody By ethnicity and type of offence Summary

Data is only shown for 2 ethnic groups to make sure figures are reliable.

The data shows that in the year ending March 2019:

  • 40.6% of White people were in youth custody for violence against the person
  • 61.1% of those from all other ethnic groups combined were in youth custody for violence against the person
  • these figures mean violence against the person was the most common offence for people in youth custody for both White people and those from all other ethnic groups combined
  • the percentage of people in youth custody for violence against the person doubled since the year ending March 2011 both in the White ethnic group and in all other ethnic groups combined
  • 10.6% of White people were in youth custody for domestic burglary offences, compared with 4.5% of those from all other ethnic groups combined
  • 8.5% of White people were in youth custody for sexual offences, compared with 2.8% of those from all other ethnic groups combined

5. Methodology

Young people in custody report their own ethnicity which staff then record.

The number of young people in custody is counted at the start of each month. Figures 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. Average numbers of young people in custody 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

Further technical information

Figures published before the release of the 2018 to 2019 youth justice statistics may have been revised since their original publication.

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

Average Youth Custody population - Spreadsheet (csv) 54 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, legal basis for detention, offence group, value, number