Youth reoffending rises to highest level on record

By Neil Puffett

| 27 April 2017

The proportion of young people committing further offences within 12 months of being convicted has hit a record high.

Juvenile reoffending rates have risen to their highest level. Picture: Becky Nixon

Figures published by the Ministry of Justice show that out of the 34,682 juvenile offenders who were cautioned, convicted or released from custody between July 2014 to June 2015, 13,177 (38 per cent) went on to offend again within a year.

The 38 per cent reoffending rate is the highest level since recent records began in 2004, and represents a 0.2 percentage point increase on the 37.8 per cent recorded in 2013/14.

The average number of reoffences was 3.35 per young person - also the highest on record.

The Ministry of Justice document points out that although the figure represents an increase of 4.4 percentage points since 2004, the size of the cohort has fallen by around 77 per cent since then.

Meanwhile, the proportion of young people who go on to commit further offences within 12 months of being released from custody has risen to its highest level in four years.

Between July 2014 and June 2015 around 900 juvenile offenders were released from custody and around 600 of these (69.4 per cent) were proven to have committed another offence within a year.

This represents an increase of 1.7 percentage points compared with the previous 12 months and is the highest level recorded since 2010/11, when the figure stood at 72.7 per cent.

Jacob Tas, chief executive of Nacro, a charity that works with offenders, said whichever party wins the general election must prioritise reducing reoffending.

"As we fast approach the general election this summer, we urge all parties to prioritise reducing reoffending by ensuring that people released from prison receive access to education, employment, stable accommodation and improved mental health provision," he said.

"The figures show that the juvenile reoffending rate increased by 4.4 percent in comparison with 2004. This highlights an urgent need for more to be done to ensure substantial decreases and reduce existing pressure on many already overcrowded prisons."

As part of government efforts to improve standards within the youth justice system, responsibility for youth custody has been moved from the Youth Justice Board (YJB) to a newly created Youth Custody Service, which launched last month.

The organisation is being led on an interim basis by Sara Robinson, who takes on the executive director role while remaining director of operations and commissioning at the YJB.

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