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Offenders face up to aftermath
It would appear that a new scheme designed to steer young people away from becoming offenders is having a positive impact.
The restorative justice programme is designed to show the impact of crime and anti-social behaviour on its victims in a bid to make those involved in such offences aware of its impact.
And according to the manager of Bradford Youth Offending Paul O’Hara, he now has a queue of parents who want to bring their children to the clinic after they have been faced with the choice of a formal caution, which takes their child into the criminal justice process, or to be referred to the scheme.
Although it is early days, the initial success of the scheme seems to be remarkable, with 90% of those taking part in the last six to nine months not having been re-arrested.
It is easy to be cynical about such schemes; to see them as easy alternatives to a police record and a court appearance. But it is difficult to argue with such results.
The programme is also worthwhile in the way it makes these offenders face up to their wrongdoing by meeting victims of crime face-to-face, and seeing close-up the real life impact their behaviour has.
They see the aftermath and the consequences of crime and how innocent people can be left devastated by their thoughtless acts of theft, vandalism or anti-social behaviour.
There will be those for who this makes little or no difference; but hopefully they will be outnumbered by those for whom this very stark and real way of communicating just what their behaviour means for those directly affected by it does strike a chord. And that they will think twice in future about taking or breaking other people’s property simply because they can.