The government has just published a very interesting report on reoffending rates amongst 10-17 years olds in England and Wales which suggests that reoffending amongst this age group has steadily risen over a period of 11 years (2002-2013).
The report also tells us that whilst reoffending has gone up by 36%, the number of offenders in total, has gone down.
- From March 2012- March 2013, 52,600 offenders in the above age bracket were cautioned, convicted or released from custody
- Of these 52,600 offenders, 19,000 committed at least one re-offence
- There has been an upward trend in reoffending for this age bracket
- There has been a downward trend in the number of offenders in this age bracket overall
- Multiple reoffending for this group has steadily risen since 2008
- Offenders are getting marginally older: from 14.9 years to 15.4 years
- Reoffenders are also getting marginally older: from 15.4 to 15.9 years
- The vast majority of offences and re-offences are Summary non motoring offences*
Sadly, the report does not make a proper effort at trying to understand the patterns in the data. There is no indication as to why the number of offenders has gone down, but those who have committed an offence are much more likely to go on and reoffend, often multiple times. No data is given for the years 2014 or any period of 2015, which we think would make for enlightening reading, post austerity measures.
One possible explanation for the high reoffending rate is that rehabilitation for young offenders just isn’t working as a model. If the Juvenile Justice System were to treat children as children and offer them support, rather than punishment, we feel this would reduce reoffending considerably and give these children back their sense of self worth, which they have lost due to circumstances often beyond their control. We have just created a petition asking the government to make the Juvenile Justice System child-friendly, so if you agree with us, please consider lending your support.
Still, the research is well worth looking at – please do let us know if you can spot any trends in the data that give us clues as to why these patterns are emerging.
•Summary non motoring offences are less serious offences, usually tried in the Magistrates’ Court. The maximum sentence that can be imposed is 6 months, though most offences of this type have a lower maximum sentence. Offences in this bracket include driving offences (though in this report ‘non motoring’ means driving offences are not included), Common Assault and ss4 and 5 of the Public Order Act (using offensive language or causing a fear of violence), as well as regulatory offences.