Straw looks to role models

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The Independent Online
Young offenders could be helped by adult "mentors" to act as positive role models under Labour's shake-up of the youth justice system, Jack Straw (left), the shadow Home Secretary, said yesterday. He said existing experimental schemes showed that they could encourage educational attainment, keep young people away from drugs and help them cope with adverse peer pressure and build self-esteem.

Offenders could also be asked to carry out reparation work for victims under Labour's proposed "final warning", replacing the current cautioning system. Mr Straw cited last November's Audit Commission report, Misspent Youth, which found no case in which a young offender even asked to write a letter of apology to their victim.