In recent years we have seen a significant and welcome reduction in the number of young people entering the youth justice system. However, little progress has been made in reducing reoffending, with 67 per cent of young people leaving custody reoffending within a year.
The time is right to examine our approach to tackling youth offending. We need to consider whether the current system, which was created in 2000, remains able to meet the challenges we face in 2015.
It is vital that we seize the opportunity to rehabilitate young people who have offended, to steer them away from a life of crime, and to set them on a more positive course which will benefit both them and society.
For this reason Charlie Taylor will lead a departmental review of the youth justice system. Charlie is the former Chief Executive of the National College of Teaching and Leadership, the former head teacher of an outstanding school for children with complex behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, and an expert in managing young people’s behaviour. His experience and expertise in working with children with severe behavioural difficulties gives him a real understanding of the wider challenges in preventing youth offending, and I am confident he will bring a fresh perspective and energy to the task.
As part of the review Charlie will look at the evidence and current practice in preventing youth crime and rehabilitating young offenders; he will explore how the youth justice system can most effectively interact with wider services for children and young people; and he will consider whether the current arrangements are fit for purpose.
The review will report in the summer of next year.
The terms of reference for the review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.