Youth justice timeline

Topic Selected: Crime and Justice

General Article icon Type: General Article

1792 The Royal Philanthropic Society opens a centre in London to take convicted children who might otherwise be transported abroad. In 1797 it starts supporting children after they leave – possibly the first such resettlement scheme.

1823 Prison ships are introduced to house some young offenders. Criticised for being harsh and cruel, the last of these hulks closes in 1846.

1847 Juvenile Offenders Act is the first legislation to distinguish between adults and children in the justice system. Children under 14 now to be tried summarily in a magistrates court for lesser offences.

1854 Youthful Offenders Act allows courts to sentence children under 16 to a stint in a reformatory for between two and five years as an alternative to prison – but they must serve an initial 14 days in prison.

1893 Reformatory Schools Act gives courts the option of sending children to re

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