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YOUNG OFFENDER REOFFENDER RATES SLASHED

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A five year target to cut juvenile offender reconviction rates by 5 ...
A five year target to cut juvenile offender reconviction rates by 5

per cent has been met - and beaten - four years early, home office

minister Hilary Benn revealed today.

Speaking at the UK and Ireland Biennial Youth Justice Conference at

Liverpool University, Mr Benn said the reduction being achieved was

an 'impressive' 14.6 per cent.

Set in 2000, the government's target was, by 2004, to achieve a five

percent reduction in the reconviction rate of juvenile offenders

within 12 months of original conviction, reprimand or final warning.

Statistics published today show a 14.6 per cent reduction in

reconviction rates for young offenders.

Mr Benn said:

'These are very impressive figures and are a great tribute not only

to the Home Office, but also the Youth Justice Board, Youth Offending

Teams and all the other agencies working together across England and

Wales.

'The government has made tackling youth crime and reforming youth

justice themes a high priority. We, the Youth Justice Board and local

services have put in place reforms which constitute the most radical

shake-up of youth justice in England and Wales for a generation.'

Today's results follow the latest quarterly Youth Justice Pledge

figures released on Friday which showed a cut in the average time it

takes to deal with a persistent young offender to 67 days, four days

below the target and the third consecutive quarter to hit or beat the

pledge.

Mr Benn said:

'This was achieved through a combination of team working across the

country between agencies which had typically operated separately. It

was not just a target; it was a real culture change, bringing the

concept of joint case management to a previously very fragmented

system. We intend to use this as a model for future improvements to

tackle at the roots the factors which generate crime and cause social

exclusion.'

Norman Warner, chairman of the Youth Justice Board said:

'The test of the new youth justice reforms is whether they actually

make a difference to the people in the community. The reconviction

figures published today show what can be achieved with everybody

working together with a principle aim - to prevent offending.

'The youth justice reforms concentrate on the causes of crime and

that is the key to changing behaviour in the future. It's no good

punishing young offenders if they just go on to commit offences again

and again. We must all continue to work hard to drive down crime and

change the lives of the young people in our communities.'

NOTES

1. Hilary Benn is parliamentary under secretary for community and

custodial provision. He spoke today at the UK and Ireland Biennial

Youth Justice Conference 2002: The University of Liverpool, England.

2. The One Year Juvenile Reconviction Rates statistics are released

today and can be viewed here .

3. The conference is the third in a sequence of biennial events and

is engaging in comparative analysis of youth justice policy formation

and practice development. Its primary focus is on the jurisdictions

contained within the UK and Ireland. The theme is 'Weighing the

Evidence: Comparative Approaches to Children, Young People and

Crime'.

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