Where possible, we should keep young people out of the justice system. But sometimes there is no choice but to prosecute, and in those cases courts should do everything in their power to make sure young people don’t come back. We are championing the development of innovative new practice in youth courts to reduce re-offending.
Years of research have demonstrated that when young people are prosecuted it actually makes them more likely to commit crime in the future. Nonetheless, some young people’s offending is so serious that court is the only option.
While there has been a welcome drop in the number of young people under the age of 18 coming to court in recent years, those who are there are increasing likely to have multiple and complex needs. These young people require a different approach to help them avoid reoffending. Whilst England and Wales already has specialised youth courts which seek to adapt the way they work to better meet the needs of young people, we believe that they can perform better by adopting the lessons of problem-solving courts.
We are actively working with areas interested in developing better courts with appropriate approaches aimed at reducing re-offending.
What can courts do for young people?
Problem-solving courts seek to address the issues that cause people to offend, rather than just processing them through the system.
International evidence suggests that some elements of problem solving will yield better results for young people and increase public safety.