JUSTICE recently submitted a response to the Scottish Sentencing Council’s consultation on its proposed guideline for sentencing young people. We broadly welcome the proposed changes set out by the draft guideline. We consider that the guideline will be useful in ensuring that sufficient regard is paid to the unique circumstances of young people at the sentencing stage. Nevertheless, we consider that for these guidelines to be effective, proper training must be given to sentencers when they are implemented. Moreover, the following principles should be considered when contemplating sentencing reform.
- Rehabilitation should be the primary goal.
- Brain development suggests that a welfare-based approach is still appropriate up to the age of 25.
- The focus should be on the needs of the individual in order to deter them from reoffending.