Tuesday, 9 February 2016

“Look at the child, then think about the offence.” The management of young people who have offended.

9th February 2016

Today sees the publication of a review conducted by Forensic Psychological Services at Middlesex University for the Ministry of Justice. The report provides an evidence based review of what is effective in the management of young people who have offended and what isn’t effective. The team conducting the review were led by Professor Joanna R Adler of the Department of Psychology and includes: Sarah K Edwards, Mia Scally, Michael J Puniskis, Anna Gekoski and Miranda A H Horvath alongside an intern , Dorothy Gill, from Boston University.

The review considers processes important in the management of young people and it assesses robust evidence regarding the impacts and outcomes of interventions run in youth justice systems in the UK and around the world. Some common themes that emerged included the importance of assessing not just the risk of reoffending but also the young person’s abilities to engage with interventions. Young people need to understand what they have to do to complete a sentence successfully and what the expectations are of them. Professionals who work in the youth offender system have a difficult but vital set of roles which have to balance both care and offence rehabilitation. All this needs to be done with young people who may have experienced repeat neglect, abuse or other potentially traumatic life events, who have often failed or been excluded from school. 

Joanna said. “A young person’s journey through the justice system can be rehabilitative and result in successful reintegration to society but too often, youth justice interventions have not worked. We need to look at the youth in front of us as well as the crime committed. The context of their lives, and the choices they have faced need to be acknowledged and incorporated into effective sentence planning, rehabilitation, and planning for their lives after sentence.”

The FPS review can be found at the following link:

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