High completion rate in sentences for young offenders

County HallCounty Hall

Posted on: 29 July 2015

Well over three quarters of young offenders in Devon complete their sentences successfully, according to a new report by the Inspectorate of Probation.

The report praises the county’s Youth Offending Service for ensuring young offenders fulfil the requirements of their sentence.

Assistant chief inspector Helen Mercer says: “Given the large rural area covered by the service, achieving a good level of compliance is a challenge and Devon YOS meets this well.

“Over three quarters of the children and young people had fulfilled the requirements of their sentences.”

And, she says, reoffending rates for Devon  at 32.8 per cent remain well below the national average for England and Wales of 36.6 per cent.

The inspectors spent three days in Devon last month and their report has just been published.

They examined 20 cases of recent offenders who were supervised by the Devon YOS – a third of the caseload.

Ms Mercer concludes: “We saw some individual examples of excellent, committed and creative work.

“Most staff in Devon are well trained and enthusiastic about their work.

“They told us they valued the knowledge and experience of their managers and described a culture of continuous learning and development.

“We saw good links to a range of other agencies, including substance misuse and mental health services.

But she said management oversight of work needed to be improved. Managers needed to ensure all key assessments and plans were completed and their oversight of pre-sentence reports should be improved.

Devon’s Cabinet member for children’s services, James McInnes,
said: “This has been a very useful short, sharp look at the work of our youth offending team by outside experts.

“It isn’t a full inspection but it clearly demonstrates where we are on the right path and what we need to do better.

“Overall, we’ve lifted our children’s services out of their inadequate judgement from Ofsted and set about making positive improvements.

“There are clearly things we need to do better in youth offending and we are already working on them.

“However this is all about partnership working with the range of agencies involved in criminal justice and we must cooperate more closely together to ensure the best possible results for the often very troubled children who resort to offending.”

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