We complained yesterday about the Government's Orwellian "One-Stop" plan to site the police, social care, advice and welfare services on school grounds. However, not everything in the Children's Plan was so ill-conceived. For, early next year a new scheme is to be piloted to deal with first-time offenders aged between 10 and 17 who have committed a minor offence. Under the scheme, such first time young offenders instead of being sent to court will have to explain their actions and apologise to their victim, either orally or in writing:
We intend therefore to pilot a restorative approach to youth offenders from April 2008. The Youth Restorative Disposal aims to prevent re-offending through a more rehabilitative approach and the involvement of victims so offenders have to face up to the consequences of even low level offending, and the pilots will look at whether this is a more appropriate way to deal with particularly low level, first offences.Hopefully this will both help address behaviour to prevent reoffending at an early stage and allow police to deal with minor cases more speedily and efficiently, freeing them to deal with more serious crime. Whether the scheme proves at all successful may well depend on the kind of support provided to the first time young offenders after they apologise. Otherwise, the influences that led them to commit their first offence will presumably continue to lead them astray.