Community projects stop young people offending

Intensive community alternatives are more effective and cheaper
than custody in helping young people stop offending, according to a
new publication from Barnardo’s Scotland.

The report, Outcomes for Children, is based on the work of
Barnardo’s Challenging Offending Through Support and
Intervention (CHOSI) project in North Lanarkshire. Working with 16
and 17-year-olds known to be involved in offending behaviour the
project demonstrated an 80 per cent reduction in offending between
1996/98 and 58 per cent for 1999/2000.

Working in partnership with other available services,
Barnardo’s endeavoured to prevent those known to the
children’s hearing system avoid referral to the adult courts.
Providing groupwork, help with literacy, victim awareness, support
in obtaining employment and after care, the high success rates have
been achieved and maintained since the project was established in

The voluntary organisation believes this work should be
extended. Hugh McIntosh, director of Barnardo’s Scotland,
said: “There is an urgent need to establish whether programmes such
as CHOSI have a sustained effect on the lives of our young people
and, if not, we need to examine what resources are required to
enable this to happen.”

The project is funded by Barnardo’s and North Lanarkshire
Council social work department at a cost of £179,916 per
annum. On average, a young person spends 11 months at COHSI at an
average cost of £173 per week, which is much cheaper than
prison (£500), residential school (£1,200) or secure
accommodation (£1,200).

McIntosh said: “This report illustrates that intensive,
offence-focused and community-based programmes can be

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