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04 July 2014

Criminal Justice & Courts Bill Report Stage debate briefing

The Prison Reform Trust has prepared a briefing to assist MPs in the Report Stage (Day Two) debate on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill on Tuesday 17 June 2014.

The briefing focuses on New Clause 6 and New Clause 7. These new clauses would impose a mandatory jail sentence for a second conviction of carrying an offensive weapon or having an article with a blade or point in a public place or on school premises on children as young as 16.

Knife crime is a serious problem in some inner-city communities but the term covers a wide-range of offences from those involving threat or injury to the much less serious offence of possession. The majority of children and young people who carry knives do so out of fear and for protection; not to threaten or injure others. Currently rates of child and adult convictions for knife possession are falling along with levels of youth crime and the numbers of children in custody. If enacted, these provisions will lead to the inappropriate imprisonment of children and young people and we would urge MPs to vote against these amendments.