More than half of juvenile offenders in Hartlepool commit another crime within a year

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by Frank Reid
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by Frank Reid

The majority of youth offenders in Hartlepool re-offend within a year, according to a Ministry of Justice report.

In Hartlepool from October 2015 to September 2016, 85 young offenders either left custody, received a non-custodial conviction or received a caution. Of those, 46 committed a proven reoffence within a year.

Each re-offender committed an average of 4.4 offences within this period.

The 85 young offenders, aged under 18, also had 372 previous convictions between them.

In England and Wales, 42% of juvenile offenders committed another crime within a year, committing an average of 3.9 offences each.

The Ministry of Justice has cautioned that, since the figures only measure offences resulting in convictions or cautions, this could be a significant underestimate of the true level of re-offending.

In Hartlepool 42% of 1,216 adult offenders re-offended over the same period. Nationally, 29% of adults re-offended.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill said more work needed to be done to address the root causes of youth offending.

He said: “Something clearly isn’t right with the system if over 50% of young people are re-offending in Hartlepool.

“We need to look at why they are offending in the first place and bring in measures to tackle that, either through education or addressing the causes of offending, such as peer pressure, social deprivation and lack of support or opportunities for young people.

“We need some joined up thinking on this otherwise the situation could get worse before it gets better.”

Across England and Wales, juveniles were more likely to re-offend than adults.

Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company supervises offenders over the age of 18.

Chief Executive Bronwen Elphick said: “However it is important to link to the work of Youth Justice Teams and build upon areas of an individual’s life which may contribute to their offending behaviour. “We work closely with the Local Authority and voluntary sector providers to try and ensure access to services where necessary. “Reoffending rates have been high in Hartlepool for some time and we are currently trying different approaches to make a difference.

“For example our project at the Waverley Allotments which includes young and adult offenders. This project is specifically targeting training and skills development for the 18-24 years group in Hartlepool.

“The public are welcome to go along and see what we are doing there.”

Greg Stewart, youth justice practitioner on the Law Society criminal law committee, said young offenders often have complex issues and serious problems at home and school.

Mr Stewart said that budget cuts to local youth programs have also contributed to the problem.