£3m pilot to reduce reoffending by young adults

Young adults supervised by the probation service will receive specialist drug and mental health support at a new £3 million centre to reduce reoffending.

Mar 5, 2021
By Paul Jacques

It is hoped the new London hub, the first of its kind, will save some of the £18 billion annual cost of repeat crimes.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said: “This groundbreaking new model will help offenders get their lives back on the straight-and-narrow before it’s too late and they become career criminals.

“It will mean less reoffending and fewer people becoming victims of crime while also giving these young adults all the tools they need to make the most of their lives.”

The hub will be based at Newham Probation Office and has been developed by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Mayor for London’s Office for Policing and Crime.

It will put a range of specialist support services for 18 to 25-year-olds “under one roof”.

“Young adults have a particularly high risk of reoffending and are more likely to carry out drug, robbery and possession of weapons offences, and be caught up in gang crime,” said the MoJ.

“Mental health and substance misuse experts will work alongside National Probation Service staff as part of an innovative new approach to ensure vulnerable young adults, many of whom had troubled upbringings and poor education, receive the enhanced support they need to avoid a life of crime.”

The MoJ says offenders released without a home or a job are significantly more likely to reoffend, so accommodation, training and employment services will also operate from the hub to help cut crime.

It added: “This support is already available but bringing this range of services under one roof and tackling these complex issues together at an early stage can prevent thousands of people becoming victims each year.”

London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, said: “It’s vital we do everything we can to prevent reoffending and give young people who have been through the criminal justice system the support they need to turn their lives around.

“We know the pandemic has meant fewer jobs and opportunities for our young people and that is why this new hub in Newham is so important. It will give us the platform to make vital interventions and deliver specialist support to vulnerable young people, helping them turn away from crime and rebuild their lives through access to housing, education and job opportunities.”

The pilot will launch in July and run until March 2023 for 18 to 25-year-olds who are assessed as having low levels of maturity and 17-year-olds transitioning from the Youth Offending Service to adult probation. It will then be externally evaluated and, if it proves a success at reducing reoffending and improving outcomes for this cohort, rolled out across the country.

The MoJ said all staff will receive specific training in the brain development of young people.

“Young adults have distinct needs, which are different to both older adults and children and treating them as a specific group will ensure the root causes of their offending are spotted and addressed earlier on in their development,” it added.

The £3 million funding for the new hub is part of a £220 million package from the Government to tackle crime, including £148 million to protect people from “the scourge of illegal drugs” and £70 million to support offenders into temporary accommodation upon release.

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