Founder Nathaniel Peat was interviewed by Victoria Derbyshire on BBC2 surrounding the new guidelines to judges.
The social and ethnic backgrounds of young offenders will now be taken into account to “avoid criminalising BME children unnecessarily”, according to sentencing guidelines for judges and magistrates published.
Among mitigating factors to be considered when punishing those between the ages of 10 and 17 are whether they have had “unstable upbringings”, experienced criminal behaviour within their family or were exposed to pornography.
The regulations, circulated by the Sentencing Council, give greater priority to the defendant’s social circumstances, including any social deprivation or abuse. They are aimed at ensuring uniform treatment in youth courts across the country.
“The approach to sentencing should be individualistic and focused on the child or young person, as opposed to offence focused …” the guidelines’ introductory remarks state.
Nathaniel Peat spoke to the guidelines as being a step in the right direction, considering the disproportionate amount of BME offenders currently serving custodial sentences.