Youths Have No Fear Of Prison - From Mrs P

I'm from the Barnsley area and live on a council estate that has a number of youths living on it.
I have had no trouble with them personally and I speak to some of them. One youth got in to some trouble a few months ago and was arrested. He is now on a Police curfew waiting to go back to court. I was chatting to him the other day and he said he might be getting 12 months in prison because of the offence. I asked him what he thought about it and he said he wasn't bothered at all because some of his pals are in the same young offenders institute. I have a question and that is... what in God's name is the British Government running here? Why have these youths got no fear of going in to prison?