Young Offenders

Justice written question – answered on 11th June 2014.

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Photo of David Ruffley David Ruffley Conservative, Bury St Edmunds

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many persistent young offenders were registered in (a) Bury St Edmunds, (b) Suffolk and (c) England and Wales in each of the last five years; and how many and what proportion of total offences were attributable to such offenders in that period.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The prevention of reoffending by young people is a key priority for this Government. Overall crime and proven offending by young people is down, and fewer young people are entering the criminal justice system. But for those young people that are committing crimes it is right that the most serious or persistent are sentenced to custody, and those that commit violent offences face tough sentences.

It is unacceptable however that nearly three-quarters of young offenders who leave custody go on to reoffend—this needs to change. That is why we are doubling the amount of education we give those in young offenders institutions and why we are reforming the youth estate with the introduction of secure colleges. These new establishments will tackle the root cause of offending by giving people the skills and self-discipline to gain employment and training upon release and turn their lives around. We announced on 8 June the name of the company selected to design and build the pathfinder.

Table 1 shows the number of young offenders by their previous criminal history for young offenders cautioned or sentenced (a) by Suffolk police force area; and (b) across England and Wales. There is no national definition of a persistent offender, with Local Criminal Justice Boards setting criteria locally to identify persistent offenders based on their volume of crime and impact on their local community. The table therefore shows offenders with one or more previous cautions or sentencing occasions. The Police National Computer (PNC) does not break down information below police force area; it is not therefore possible to provide data specific only to Bury St Edmunds. Due to variations in local definitions of “persistent”, it is not possible to determine the proportion of overall offences committed by “persistent” offenders in any of the geographical areas specified.

These figures are based on counting the number of separate occasions on which offenders were cautioned or sentenced in each year and some offenders will therefore be represented several times in the figures. They are based only on those offences recorded on the PNC by an English or Welsh police force, including the British Transport police. The figures therefore exclude a range of low-level (non-recordable) summary offences committed by these offenders eg TV licence evasion and speeding as these are not recorded on the PNC. As with any large scale recording system the PNC is subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Table 1: Number of juvenile offenders cautioned or sentenced for recordable offences, by their previous criminal history, 2009-13
Suffolk police force area
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Number of previous convictions/cautions No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %
0 999 45 503 37 512 42 417 43 307 39
1-2 660 30 426 31 387 32 293 30 273 34
3-6 363 16 296 22 226 18 185 19 148 19
7-10 123 6 80 6 57 5 50 5 43 5
11-14 44 2 32 2 25 2 16 2 8 1
15+ 42 2 33 2 15 1 6 1 14 2
Juvenile offenders 2,231 100 1,370 100 1,222 100 967 100 793 100
England and Wales
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Number of previous convictions/cautions No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %
0 67,650 43 49,092 39 38,832 38 29,737 39 23,165 39
1-2 49,079 31 39,071 31 31,497 31 23,226 30 18,139 30
3-6 27,027 17 23,725 19 19,853 20 14,682 19 11,773 20
7-10 8,264 5 7,380 6 6,206 6 4,758 6 3,702 6
11-14 3,534 2 3,166 3 2,686 3 1,973 3 1,569 3
15+ 2,551 2 2,465 2 2,348 2 1,784 2 1,341 2
Juvenile offenders 158,105 100 124,899 100 101,422 100 76,160 100 59,689 100

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