The man in charge of youth justice in England and Wales has resigned, criticising government policy on young offenders, Newsnight can reveal.
The Chair of the Youth Justice Board, Professor Rod Morgan, says youth courts and children's prisons are being "swamped" with minor offenders.
In an exclusive Newsnight interview he says, "we're standing on the brink of a prisons crisis. We have tonight lots of people in police cells because there is no space for them in custody and that's true for children and young people also."
Rod Morgan became Chair of the Youth Justice Board in April 2004. He was formerly HM Chief Inspector of Probation for England and Wales, a post he took up in August 2001.
"I regard a 26% increase in the number of children and young people that are being drawn into the system in the past three years as swamping", he told Newsnight.
You can watch the full interview with Prof Rod Morgan on Newsnight, Friday 26 January 2007 at 2230GMT on BBC Two and on the Newsnight website.