ISSP reduces offending among young offenders


The Youth Justice Board has developed an Improvement Plan to ensure
policy and practice around Intensive Supervision and Surveillance
Programmes (ISSPs) are refined following an evaluation of the
scheme by the University of Oxford, writes Clare

The report found there was a “marked reduction” in
the frequency and seriousness of offending for young people on the
programme. From the 12 months before to the 12 months after the
start of the ISSP, the frequency of offending fell by 43 per cent
and the seriousness dropped by 16 per cent.

“What we have seen is that the more entrenched offending
behaviour becomes, the harder it is to reform young
offenders,” said Rod Morgan, chair of the board, adding that
ISSP can make real inroads to turn young people around.

ISSP is a robust alternative to custody and was introduced in
July 2001 and rolled out across England and Wales last October.
Courts can give ISSP as a condition of a community sentence, as a
condition of bail or as the community element of a detention and
training order.

However, the report notes that 85 per cent of the young people
were reconvicted at some point within 12 months the
programme’s start, which it claims was unsurprising given
“the profiles of the young people on ISSP”.

Nearly half of the young people referred were recorded as living
in deprived households, three in 10 were thought to have
experienced abuse and more than a quarter had received no
education. Almost 60 per cent had been involved with social
services, 15 per cent were self-harming and 14 per cent had used

Many of the young people had been deprived and damaged by their
life experiences, and “a high proportion were firmly engaged
in a career of criminal behaviour by the time they received their

But a sizeable minority of sentencers wanted to relax the
criteria for ISSPs, although the report warned that this could lead
to lower risk young offenders joining the scheme who did not need
the intensity of ISSP and who could become
“contaminated” by contact with higher risk

It highlighted that a small proportion of young people would
have been on ISSP due to the net-widening effects, and it was
important to recognise the potential negative consequences of
excessive net-widening.

The report concludes that the YJB’s aim to reduce the
re-offending rate in the group by five per cent and reduce the
seriousness of re-offending had been achieved and tackling the
underlying problems of young offenders, particularly regarding
education, was also achieved.

While some schemes produced disappointing results, the majority
were “broadly achieving” the YJB’s objectives, it

Community Care is calling for a reduction in the
numbers of children sent to custody and for a greater use of
community alternatives. For more information go to

YJB Report from




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