2.1 Unintended consequences
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 established a greater degree of coherence to the uneven patchwork of different services and processes that preceded it, but it came at a price. As the system grew, so did the numbers of children and young people being drawn into it.
With most measures of the crimes committed by young people suggesting falling levels of crime, the reasons for this growth in the numbers of young people in the system are complicated and controversial but the results were clear. By 2002 the number of young people in custody had risen to record highs. At 3,200 there were more young people locked up in England and Wales than in any other European State. Some of the reasons for this are explored in the next section.