Alternative solutions for young offenders in Lincolnshire

Partnership work between agencies tackling youth offending is reducing the number of young people entering the criminal justice system, according to a report at Lincolnshire County Council.

Lincolnshire County Council

The report to the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee explains how a new ‘Joint Diversionary Panel’ meets weekly to review cases of children and young people who have committed and admitted a criminal offence.

Rather than going the youth caution and criminal justice route, the panel are being successful with more restorative and community-based resolutions.

Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell, Executive Councillor for Children’s Services, said: “This isn’t about young offenders getting away with it, but through robust, community resolutions with input from victims, it means young people won’t be criminalised but will take part in some form of community action to repair the harm they have done.

“By intervening early, understanding the issues and involving the victims in robust alternatives to court and prison, it is helping to reduce further offending and keep young people out of the youth justice system.”

A County Council spokesman said: “Since the introduction of this panel in June 2017, more than 350 cases have been reviewed.

“A community-based resolution rather than a criminalising youth caution has been used in 82 per cent of all cases.

“As a direct result, the use of youth cautions in Lincolnshire has decreased by over 90 per cent - a substantial reduction which demonstrates the genuine commitment across agencies to restorative outcomes rather than sending young people down the criminal justice path.

“Three tiers of support go from referral to agency services for very minor offences, to intensive 12-week packages for more severe offences, with the input and agreement from victims.”

The panel is chaired by the Youth Offending Service, with representation from Lincolnshire Police, Early Help and Team Around the Child Co-ordinators.