The government has missed a target to cut juvenile reoffending by 5%, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice.
The proportion of 10- to 17-year-olds reoffending fell by just 0.2% between 2000 and 2006, well short of the public service agreement target, announced in July.
The number of offences committed by youths within a year of being reprimanded or released from custody dropped from 62,300 in 2000 to 60,200 in 2006. This was despite an increase of individuals who fell into this category in the same period, from 41,200 to 49,000.
Overall, the number of reoffences committed from 2005 to 2006 fell by 1.5%, from 125 to 123 offences per 100 offenders. Compared with 2000, when the frequency rate was 151, this represented a 19% drop.
The Ministry of Justice report suggests that the discrepancy between frequency and the proportion of offenders responsible shows “how some offenders do not desist entirely, but commit fewer offences”.
Reoffenders typically go on to commit violence, criminal damage and theft. Serious offences fell by nearly 9%, from 0.91 per 100 offenders in 2000 to 0.83 in 2006.
Francis Done, chair of the Youth Justice Board, said she was pleased that the frequency and severity of reoffending continued to fall.
She emphasised the need for a multi-agency approach, including input from education, training and housing, to build on progress.
Fall in reoffending fails to mask disappointment over missed target