LETTER: Keeping the young away from crime

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The Independent Online
From Mr Roger Statham

Sir: Your report about the link between unemployment and crime ("Lack of jobs ties men to 'cycle' of youth crime", 19 January) has been greeted by knowing nods in the probation service. This Home Office research has replicated the findings of research commissioned by the Association of Chief Officers of Probation and carried out by Lancaster University in 1993. The findings are also echoed in the day-to-day experiences of every probation officer in the country.

The Probation Service is serious about tackling crime, but there is concern about the growing alienation of young men. Unemployment is leaving a vacuum in their lives which is filled with drug taking and crime in so many cases.

Prevention is clearly better than cure. So why not start with a safety net of modern apprenticeships for all our school leavers?

Yours sincerely,

Roger Statham

Chief Probation Officer

Cleveland Probation Service



22 January

The writer is Social Policy and Employment spokesman of the Association of Chief Officers of Probation.