New supervision programme for young offenders to reduce custodial sentences

The home office has launched a new £45 million intensive
supervision and surveillance programme to stem the numbers of young
offenders receiving custodial sentences, writes Anabel
Unity Sale

Under the initiative a young offender serving under an ISSP will
be subject to constant intensive surveillance, and can be monitored
by electronic tagging and voice verification. Young offenders can
also be tracked by intelligence-led policing and advocate schemes
where they are supervised by dedicated police and Youth Offending
Teams staff.

The ISSPs will be managed by the Youth Justice Board for England
and Wales, and will also include individually tailored packages of
reparation, training and education measures. The ISSP will target
the most prolific young offenders in 41 schemes across England and
Wales, 22 of which go live this month and 19 schemes will go live
in October.

Launching the programme home secretary David Blunkett said:
“Reforming youth justice offers no ‘soft options’
– intensive supervision will ensure that persistent young
offenders are no just punished but also made to take responsibility
for their actions.”

Lord Norman Warner, YJB chairperson, said for the first time the
courts had a highly structured comprehensive alternative to
custodial sentences.

He told Community Care: “What we do not want is a large
number of social workers complaining about tagging in ISSPs because
the alternative for young offenders is to lock them up.”

Charlotte Day, Howard League for Penal Reform policy officer,
said: “We give the ISSP a cautious welcome if it is used as a
genuine alternative to custody. The danger is whenever a new
community sentence is introduced as an alternative to custody it is
used for less serious offenders who would not be in danger of going
to prison.”

Beverley Hughes, home office junior minister for community and
custodial sentences, said at the launch of the YJB annual review
that the board had made strong progress in reforming regimes for
young offenders.

Lord Warner said: “The really significant achievement for the
board is the introduction of the new assessment scheme ASSET. For
the first time people across the country are assessing young
offenders needs on the same system.”

He added the board had also been able to oversee the significant
increase in education, access to physical facilities and time our
of cell for young offenders.

Youth Justice Board Review 2000/2001 Delivering Change
available from 020 7271 3033.








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