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MPs call to support successful 'restorative justice' scheme
More cash must be ploughed into innovative schemes to turn teenagers away from a life of crime after their success in Bradford, MPs say today.
An all-party committee calls for the spread of ‘restorative justice’ – focusing on the pain of the victim – after hearing of a “90 per cent success rate” in Bradford.
Training of care home staff in such schemes should also be stepped up to cut reoffending by young people in care, the justice select committee recommended.
The report comes after Bradford Youth Offending Team (YOT) told the inquiry that parents were queuing up “for their children to be given another chance” – and avoid a criminal record.
Restorative justice involves face-to-face meetings, so victims can tell offenders about the impact of their crime and receive an apology, and so the offender can understand the hurt caused.
Paul O’Hara, the Bradford team’s manager, previously told the committee: “I have queues of parents outside these clinics, who are desperate for an opportunity for their children to be given another chance.
“To date, it is still very early days, but there is a 90 per cent success rate. There is a very high level of satisfaction and a high level of involvement from victims.”
The number of people coming into contact with youth offending teams had fallen by 25 per cent between 2010 and 2011 and was down 70 per cent in five years, he added.
However, Mr O’Hara also warned that funding was “always a challenge”. In 2011-12, funding for YOTs was slashed by 12 per cent – taking it back to 2006-07 levels.
Today’s report welcomes the Government’s “commitment to restorative justice”, but added: “We believe more should be done to make it integral to the youth justice system.
“We advocate a presumption that the sentencing process will include a restorative element for the vast majority of offenders at all levels of the system.”