Teenage offenders scheme 'is failing'

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The Independent Online

More than 15,000 young offenders have been electronically tagged, and given education and training, since the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) was launched four years ago.

The Youth Justice Board admitted yesterday that 91 per cent returned to crime, committing an average of seven offences over two years. It conceded the figure was "very high", but stressed it was dealing with some of the most difficult youngsters in the criminal justice system.

David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, denounced the statistics as disgraceful and said the future of ISSP was now in doubt. He added: "We need workable solutions to tackle youth crime. These figures clearly show the Government's commitment to be 'tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime' was just hot air."

The board discovered reoffending rates had increased since last year, when they were 85 per cent. Of 900 young offenders analysed, the average number of offences committed in the two years was 7.1.

ISSPs were introduced in 2001 for offenders aged under 18 and have so far cost the taxpayer £96m.