£8.4m to break the cycle of youth crime and create safer communities

4 Aug 2009 10:57 AM

An additional £8.4 million is to be invested into reducing youth reoffending and creating safer communities through improved resettlement and rehabilitation arrangements for young offenders leaving prison, Justice Minister Claire Ward announced yesterday.

Over the next two years, new programmes will be established across England and Wales to break the cycle of offending for young people leaving custody each year.



Designed to ensure that young offenders make a positive contribution to society by developing essential skills and so turn their backs on a life of crime, this youth rehabilitation project will offer funding to help local areas establish and maintain the services necessary to provide practical alternatives to crime.

Justice Minister Claire Ward MP said:

‘Youth crime has a devastating effect on all involved, and can also set a young person up for a lifetime of reoffending. Breaking this cycle is key to helping put young, vulnerable people back on the right path and making our towns and neighbourhoods safer and better places to live.

‘We have already made real progress. Latest figures show that the frequency of youth reoffending has fallen by over 23%, and there are fewer young people entering the criminal justice system in the first place. But there is always more that can be done.

‘Today’s announcement will give thousands of young people leaving custody better access to key services and information – like how to find somewhere to live; how to access education and training or how to successfully apply for a job. This in turn will help reduce reoffending and so cut crime as well as enabling these young people to make a positive contribution to their local communities.’

Home Office Minister David Hanson MP said:

‘After investing £100 million in the Youth Crime Action Plan we have made real progress tackling youth crime in the last year. The number of young people offending for the first time is falling, fewer are reoffending and we are having a real effect on serious youth violence.

‘There is more work to be done and this can only be achieved through tough enforcement alongside support for young people to help turn their lives around.’

Children and Young People’s Minister Dawn Primarolo MP said:

‘It’s important that we give young offenders leaving prison alternative options to reoffending, supporting them so that they are diverted from getting caught up in a life of crime. We are clear that children’s services have a crucial role to play in this, giving young offenders leaving prison access to the services they need such as education and training to help them turn their lives around helping to create safer communities for everyone.
‘We have invested heavily in the youth justice system and implemented significant reforms over the last decade. Reoffending rates are decreasing and there are now fewer first time young offenders. The resettlement of young offenders is part of our triple track approach of better prevention, non-negotiable support and tough enforcement to tackle youth crime with £100 million investment in communities throughout the country through the Youth Crime Action Plan.’

Frances Done, Chair of the Youth Justice Board, said:

‘Improving the resettlement of young people after custody is critical if we are to drive down youth crime and break the cycle of offending.

‘One year on from the government's Youth Crime Action Plan and we have put together a package of steps to take this forward. These include measures to improve education and training, piloting regional resettlement consortia in three areas, and providing additional, integrated resettlement support services in local authorities.

‘Together, these measures will help improve outcomes for young people leaving custody and provide vital information about how best to deliver these services in the future.’

This latest investment closely follows the successful one-year anniversary of the Youth Crime Action Plan, which highlighted progress against core crime fighting initiatives rolled out between November 2008 and June 2009, including:

  • After School Patrols to prevent youth crime and antisocial behaviour at peak times (64,017 young people were engaged during 15,292 patrols at around 1,632 schools, with 2,497 referrals to other services)
  • Youth Offending Team workers in custody suites to identify and address young offenders’ needs early on and help keep them on the right track (1,117 young people engaged with and 611 referrals to other services)
  • Payback work in leisure time (including Friday and Saturday nights) – making young offenders feel the consequences of their behaviour.

Also, greater community involvement in identifying payback work and more feedback to communities on the work that has been completed (6,600 sessions completed).

Notes to editors

  1. The Youth Crime Action Plan is the government’s triple track approach to tackling youth crime of tough enforcement, non-negotiable support and early intervention and prevention.
  2. From 2006/07 to 2007/08 there has been a drop of 10% in the number of young people entering the criminal justice system and between 2000 and 2007 frequency of reoffending has fallen by over 23%. Reoffending of juvenile statistics
  3. As part of the youth rehabilitation project, Youth Offending Teams, alongside local providers of careers, training, education and accommodation advice will be encouraged to come together to develop comprehensive plans that will help these youngsters rebuild their lives. The most innovative, sustainable and effective plans will win part of an £8.4 million pot (£3 million YCAP funding and YJB contribution of £1.2 million for two years) so that they can implement their ideas.
  4. Alongside the government’s youth rehabilitation project, the Youth Justice Board is developing pilot regional resettlement consortiums that will bring together local authorities monitoring young offenders leaving custody.
  5. For more information please contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536.