Jo Staines, Julie Shaw, Katie Hunter and Claire Fitzpatrick


The over-representation of care-experienced individuals in the criminal justice system has been widely documented (see Staines, 2016 for an overview) yet, despite recent changes to policy and practice, remains problematic. For example, recent Department for Education and Ministry of Justice (MoJ)(2022) data revealed that, while 5 per cent of all school children sampled had received a caution or sentence, 11 per cent of those with experience of the care system had done so.

This disproportionality continues throughout the justice system, with over half (52 per cent) of the children in custody having previous experience of the care system (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, 2021). Such over-representation particularly affects girls and women–previous research has found that around a third of adult women in custody are care-experienced compared with a quarter of men (MoJ, 2012).

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Full reference

Staines, J., Shaw, J., Hunter, K. and Fitzpatrick, C. (2024) Supporting Girls in Care To Desist From Offending Behaviour. In Desistance and Children: Critical Reflections from Theory, Research and Practice. Policy Press.