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Pocket money justice works

June 16, 2009

From Hilary Douglas and Andrea Perry’s article in London’s Daily Express: YOUNG tearaways who break the law are being forced to face their victims and repay them with their pocket money.

The pioneering idea has dramatically reduced
re-offending among children who have to apologise for crimes such as
­shoplifting, criminal damage and graffiti.

Restorative Justice, aimed at those between 10 and 17, has been piloted
in eight trial areas and proved so successful it is now set to be
rolled out nationwide. It reduces the burden on the police and frees up
court time.

Each year about 100,000 young people from 10 to 17 enter the criminal justice system for the first time.

one of the trial areas alone, re-offending rates among the 1,000-plus
shoplifters, vandals and yobs were significantly lower than among those
who faced traditional justice such as prison, fines or community service.

Of the 1,065 wrongdoers dealt with in the first 18 months of the project in Norfolk, only 14 per cent have returned to crime after being forced to humble themselves in front of their victims.

figure falls to eight per cent among juveniles. Across the rest of the
justice system in Norfolk, the re-offending rate is about 22 per cent.

Supporters of the scheme insist it is not a soft option.

Merry, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “Some
offenders would rather go to prison than face their victim.”

trial area is Whitby, North Yorks, where Chief Inspector Nick Warnes
said: “It is not a soft option but a proportionate response to minor
offences. Parents are very supportive.

“Children can make mistakes. This has been very successful.”


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