The proportion of young Muslim men in youth jails in England and Wales rose by more than a quarter last year, figures showed today. One in five males (21%) in young offender institutions (YOIs) identified themselves as Muslim in 2011/12, compared with 13% in 2009/10 and 16% in 2010/11, the annual review of children and young people in custody showed.
The proportion of youth offenders in custody from black and minority ethnic communities also rose slightly to 42%, from 39% in 2010/11, according to the report by the chief inspector of prisons.
The study, published jointly with the Youth Justice Board (YJB), showed the total number of young people in custody fell by 14% last year.
Some 1,543 teenagers, aged 15 to 18, were held in YOIs by the end of 2011/12, compared with 1,822 the previous year. Around half (53%) of young men said that it was their first time in custody.
Now 231 young offender places have been decommissioned to reflect the decreasing size of the population.
Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, has now called on young people's perceptions of their experiences in custody to help shape youth justice policy. (continue reading...)