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Youth custody

Very few young people are sent to custody. We try to avoid this whenever possible. There are a variety of options available when sentencing young people to custody. Young people can be sentenced to:

  • Detention and Training Order (DTO)
  • Imprisonment under section 90 or 91 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000
  • Imprisonment under section 226 or 228 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003

Detention and Training Orders

The DTO will be set for a fixed term with a maximum of 24 months, half of which is served in detention. The remainder is served in the community under the supervision of the Dorset Combined Youth Justice Service (YJS). It is available for males and females.

Sentences under Section 90/91

Allows for sentences of imprisonment greater than 24 months and for life sentences for grave crimes. Release is subject to the agreement of the Parole Board.

Sentences under Section 226/228
(imprisonment for public protection)

Allows for an indeterminate sentence of detention, or an extended sentence of detention, to be made where the young person is assessed as presenting a danger to the public. Release may be denied or subject to extended conditions to protect the public.

The Youth Custody Service, after discussion with the Youth Justice Service, is responsible for placing young people in custody.

Typically, those aged under 15 will be held in a Secure Children's Home (SCH). Those over 15 will be held in either a Young Offender Institution (YOI) or Secure Training Centre (STC).

All females are placed in an SCH or an STC.

A different category of YOI holds young people between the ages of 18 and 21, or to the point when they are ready to make the full transition to the adult prison estate which, in some cases, is before they reach the age of 21.

The regimes in YOIs holding young people are designed to provide a safe and secure environment for young people. These take account of the responsibilities and child centred approach reflected in the Children Act 1989, the Children Act 2004 and the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009. Full provision is made for education, health, offending behaviour programmes and maintaining links with home and family.

Release and post release supervision

Young people in custody receive regular visits from YJ S officers throughout their time in custody. Planning for release takes place at an early stage.

For many young people returning to the community is the toughest part of the sentence. Especially when they have made positive changes that they want to maintain. The YJS provides supervision for young people in the community right up to the end of their sentence. This reduces the risk that the young person will be drawn back to further offending and in some cases to protect the public.

  • a plan is made with the young person and their family and supporters before the young person is released
  • on release the young person may have additional conditions imposed to protect the public. This also is to try to ensure a good start in the community
  • key services are identified to help the young person continue the progress started during the custodial part of their sentence
  • regular reviews help make sure that the plan is working in practice and that progress is being made


Missed appointments and failure to engage in the release plan may mean that the young person is taken back to court. If a young person appears in court for breach, they may be fined or sent back to prison for all or part of the rest of their sentence.

Contact details

Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole

Dorset Combined Youth Justice Service,
Ted Webster Centre,
519A Ashley Rd,
BH14 0BD.

Call: 01202 794 321.

Dorset Council

Dorset Combined Youth Justice Service,
Monkton Park,
DT2 9PS.

Call: 0300 123 3339.


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