U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Fast-Tracking of Persistent Young Offenders

NCJ Number
J Graham
Date Published
4 pages
This paper reports on a survey of youth courts in England and Wales in June 1997 to determine what arrangements were in place at that time for "fast-tracking" habitual juvenile offenders.
The British Government is committed to cutting in half the time from arrest to sentencing for habitual juvenile offenders. In October 1997, an interdepartmental circular requested local agencies to set up fast-tracking schemes for persistent young offenders. To help prepare this circular and obtain an overview of existing and proposed fast-tracking schemes, the Research and Statistics Directorate wrote to all youth courts in England and Wales in June 1997 to determine the characteristics of existing fast-tracking schemes. The survey found that there were few existing schemes for fast-tracking habitual juvenile offenders. The author argues that appropriate cases should be "flagged" at an early stage of case processing and clearly identified as fast- track cases throughout the court process. Schemes should also achieve an appropriate balance between the time taken to process cases and the requirements of due process. Current good practice includes avoiding or minimizing formal, written presentence recommendations, preferring verbal assessments and streamlining advance disclosure. On the whole, courts do not need to find additional resources for implementing fast-tracking schemes. This report recommends training in fast-tracking for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), in addition to training for clerks and magistrates. There should also be a structure for the setting up of fast-track schemes, including a checklist of items. CPS should provide advance disclosure in every fast-track case, whether requested or not, at least 7 days before the first hearing.