Young offender panels seek recruits

A campaign to recruit thousands of volunteer
youth offender panel members was launched by the government last

Five thousand volunteers are needed to join
the youth offender panels that are being set up across England and

From 1 April next year the youth court will
refer all young offenders aged 10 to 17 pleading guilty and
convicted for the first time to a youth offender panel, unless the
charge is serious enough to warrant custody.

Youth offender panels will consist of two
volunteers from the local community and one member of the local
youth offending team. The panel will meet with the young person,
his or her family, and wherever possible the victim, to draw up a
contract aimed at addressing the offending behaviour and repair any

Any offender who is unwilling to agree a
contract or fails to comply will be referred back to court to
receive a different sentence.

Home office minister Beverley Hughes said: “We
need 5,000 men and women of all ages and from all backgrounds to
volunteer as youth offender panel members. These people will have a
major role in dealing with young offenders, helping them to face up
to what they have done, make sure they do not offend again, and try
to put right the wrong they have done.”

Panel members must be aged 18 or over and will
need to be available for about three hours per fortnight.

For further information call the Youth Justice
Board recruitment hotline. North 0191 497 9332, South 01483 215350,
or see

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