Teenage offenders given community punishments such as building bird boxes went on to commit more than 660,000 further crimes, it emerged last night.You mean, soft punishments don't work? Well, who could have forseen that!
Parliamentary answers have revealed for the first time the number of new offences by juveniles who received 'soft' punishments instead of custody for crimes including mugging, theft and vandalism.Still, there's a silver lining:
Between 2002 and 2007, they were convicted of 667,073 new crimes, according to analysis by the Tories.
The number of young offenders involved was 298,609, so the 667,000 crimes were an average of 2.2 each - though not all of them will have re-offended.Ah. Right. And some of them will have re-offended many, many times…
And it might be even worse than it looks:
This figure relates only to crimes committed within 12 months of the court order being made, meaning many could have been prevented if the offender had been taken into custody instead.Yes, but that would only happen is we had a justice system keen on crime prevention, wouldn't it?
Instead, we have a lot of government departments and quangos - MAPPA, probation services, etc - with a vested interest in not seeing their jobs disappear, like all those unimportant private sector jobs...
Conservative justice spokesman Dominic Grieve, who obtained the figures, said: 'Ministers need to get a grip of the youth justice system and reduce re-offending rates, which remain stubbornly high.Note there was nothing there on what the Tories plan to do about it, though.
'We can't go on with a youth justice policy which is failing offenders and creating new victims.'
The re-offending figures emerged on the day the Government officially launched its 'Making Good' scheme, which gives local people the chance to suggest work for young offenders.Whoops!