More youth held in custody before trial as UK criminal justice system struggles under Covid court closures
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More youth held in custody before trial as UK criminal justice system struggles under Covid court closures

The number of young people awaiting trial and sentencing in England and Wales has doubled over the past year due to courts being temporarily closed due to Covid-19, according to a new report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation. The report released Wednesday showed that there are concerns that children in prolonged uncertainty could be vulnerable to unnecessary anguish or even pose a greater risk to others around him or her. The situation is exacerbated by regional Covid lockdown requirements, restricting children from having contact with youth offending team members to further their educational and rehabilitation assessment.

Speaking about detention and delay problems in general on Thursday, chair of the Criminal Bar Association in England and Wales James Mulholland QC described the criminal justice system as reaching its breaking point, saying said that there are more than 50,000 pending cases to be heard, and the system is withholding cases into 2023. In September, Justice Keith Raynor at the Woolwich Crown Court publicly condemned the UK government’s insufficient funding of the criminal justice sector by refusing to extend custody time limits. He said that having undue extensions would be detrimental to children locked in custody.