Chair of the Youth Justice Board Ellie Roy today defended the government’s community sentencing programme for young offenders following a report that showed nine out of 10 people were reconvicted within two years.
Roy said that while the YJB was “concerned” by the high reconviction rates of young offenders on Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programmes (ISSP), she pointed out that the rate and seriousness of re-offending had been reduced.
“The YJB never set out to stop offending as this would be impossible. The aim of the ISSP is to reduce the seriousness and frequency of re-offending, and this is being achieved,” she said.
The YJB’s evaluation of 41 ISSP schemes published this week found that frequency of re-offending went down by 40 per cent over one year and 39 per cent over two years.
It also found that the seriousness of any further re-offending decreased by 13 per cent one and two years after the ISSP.
The report said the 91 per cent reconviction rate was “not surprising” as the young people studied had committed an average of 11.6 offences in the previous two years.
The report raised concerns that “poor” statutory services were “undermining” the ability of staff carrying out ISSPs to meet the needs of young people with the most severe underlying problems.
It said: “If additional improvements could be achieved in tackling substance abuse and meeting accommodation needs, as well as mental health diagnosis and treatment for a minority of such young offenders, then an even greater impact could be made on the future criminal careers of such persistent serious offenders.”
Report from: www.yjb.gov.uk