Youth crime remains a serious issue for both local and national governments. Although recently, there has been a decline in the cases of youth crime (The overall number of young people in the Youth Justice System (YJS) continued to reduce in the year ending March 2015: Ministry of Justice), it does still remain a problem. The YJS in England and Wales works to prevent offending and reoffending by young people under the age of 18. Compared to figures from March 2010, there are now 67% fewer young people who were first time entrants (FTEs) and the reoffending rate has increased (by 5.6 percentage points since March 2008, to 38% in March 2014).
But, what exactly is the government doing to ensure low levels of youth crime and also to ensure that the number one priority of the youth is safety? There are various prevention programmes that work to keep young people away from crime. They are run within local communities and can involve parents and families. One such example is the Youth Inclusion Programme which looks to give access to local services to help keep young people out of trouble. These could include more after school activities and one to one sessions with teachers or treatment for mental health programmes. Another such government led initiative is mentoring where a specially trained volunteer spends time to help someone. Some tasks could include job applications, social skills and doing better at school. Sometimes this can be more effective if the youth is shy, lacking social skills and prefers one to one treatment. Mentors are not controlled or connected to the police or schools. Another indirect way of reducing youth crime is through parenting programmes where the parents of the youth offenders are provided with positive parenting skills and strategies, which may help improve the behaviour in young people.
With the help and support of their parents and the local community, young offenders can drastically change their lives. I believe that changing the mentality and behaviour of the youth for the better, is improving the future of tomorrow.
by Saqlain Choudry, aged 17