The latest Government statistic shows that on at least one measure this Government has completely failed one vulnerable group in our society. Tragically they are people whose predicament is of little concern to the current Government and unlike the nurses who I referred to in yesterdays blog, they are of little concern to most voters either. In 2004 mid way through the Blair Government, he instigated the measurement of re-offending rates of young people who had been convicted of crimes. I have a particular interest in this area as I was a founding Trustee of a charity called Sussex Pathways that specifically works with people leaving custody and for more than 10 years was Chair of one of the largest Youth Charities in the UK. It takes guts to start measuring something when in power as the risk is it proves how badly your policies and performance is. We are now 13 years on from that point and this year the level of reoffending has reached a level higher than every previous year.
According to the Ministry of Justice, out of the 34,682 juvenile offenders who were cautioned, convicted or released from custody between July 2014 to June 2015, 13,177 (38 per cent) went on to offend again within a year. The 38 per cent reoffending rate is 4.4% higher than in 2004 and 0.2% higher than last years figure. The Ministry of Justice document also points out that the size of the cohort has fallen by around 77 per cent since 2004 so the good news is that fewer young people are facing the criminal justice system in a formal way, and part of this is due to a much stronger emphasis on restorative justice approaches such as community resolution which is the policy in use in Sussex. However the smaller cohort should make it easier to focus on the 35,000 young people who were represented in these figures.
Sadly we can be sure that few if any of the PCCs and certainly none of the Conservative PCCs will be working to reduce these numbers. By the same token Liz Truss is not going to explain herself as like the Prime Minister she has been hidden away in meetings with Party Activists, even though Parliament technically breaks up today.