Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Tuesday 23rd June 9.30am

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Shadowing the Youth Offending Team

I spent a fascinating morning in the Sutton Youth Court in Wallington observing the work of the Youth Offending Team.  Three councillors & two special advisors to the Children & Young People’s Scrutiny Committee had the opportunity to sit in on a number of cases of young people being tried or sentenced in the youth courts. We were briefed on the list of 32 possible sentences that could be handed out to those found guilty of various crimes, and I was impressed by the appropriateness of the rulings made by the magistrates during the course of the morning. Note was taken of any reports from the Youth Offending Team where they had previous contact with the young person under consideration. Despite being less formal than the adult courts I still found the youth court intimidating and despite the bravado displayed by some of the young people facing the magistrates their underlying fear of the potential consequences was obvious in their body language, particularly in the case of one young man facing a possible custodial sentence.

At the end of the morning session we had the opportunity to speak to the three magistrates from the court and ask them about their work and the thinking behind the sentences they had just ruled on.

In the afternoon we visited the Youth Offending Team headquarters in Wallington and spoke to some of the caseworkers. I was allowed to sit in on a session with a young person undergoing a referral order before I needed to leave.

The day was an invaluable insight into the ‘business end’ of the justice system and the work of the Youth Offending Team.

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August 18, 2009 - Posted by | Meeting

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