Typical young offender gets younger


    The peak age for offending among children is younger than in
    previous years, according to the latest Mori youth survey 2004,
    writes Clare Jerrom.

    The report, carried out for the Youth Justice Board, found that
    the peak age for offending was 14, although it suggests that if a
    child has not committed an offence by this age, they are unlikely
    to do so.

    However, it warns that “the younger a person is when they
    first offend, the more likely they are to commit serious offences
    in the future”.

    As in previous years, excluded young people were far more likely to
    commit crime: a quarter of young people in mainstream education had
    committed a crime, whereas 60 per cent of excluded young people
    have offended.

    “Overall, however, offending levels have remained stable
    since 2001,” says the report published last week.

    Only a minority of young people have experimented with drugs,
    although excluded young people have more of an inclination to try

    Excluded young people were almost four times more likely to have
    tried cannabis than children in mainstream education, although four
    in 10 young people in mainstream school and more than half of
    excluded young people said they had drunk alcohol in the past


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