Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:52 pm on 29th October 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rob Butler Rob Butler Conservative, Aylesbury 1:52 pm, 29th October 2021

My hon. Friend’s point is absolutely spot on. That is why the first step will be to try to encourage people to help themselves. The answer to stopping people reoffending is not always to come down incredibly harshly the first time that people make a mistake. I remember that when I was involved with the Youth Justice Board I asked some young people, “What would you really like me to take away from my conversation with you, given that you have committed an offence?” They said, “That one mistake does not define your entire life.”

It is important to get the balance right: not letting people off if they commit offences time after time, but adopting a progressive approach. That is what the Bill seeks to do, and it is, I think, what the Government’s approach to criminal justice is all about. We need to be very tough at the hard end, but we also need to give people the opportunity to live a crime-free life if they can be helped to do that through positive interventions, rather than criminalising them.