Young offenders need more support to deter reoffending, MPs say

The Commons Justice Committee has said that more attention should be paid towards measures to prevent offenders aged 18-25 from reoffending.

The committee called for better screening to help identify what support was required.

It argued that offenders within the 18-25 age range should be treated differently, as their brains are still developing and there is more capacity for the person to change their behaviour.

It outlines that young offenders were 10 times more likely to have a learning disability or autistic disorder, and that ‘temperance - the ability to evaluate the consequences of actions and to limit impulsiveness and risk-taking’ was still developing when a person is in their 20s.

The group of MPs warned that the programmed conducted by the National Offender Management Service did not suitable recognise young adults’ needs and should implement new strategies to help free young offenders from a cycle of crime.

Alex Hewson, of the Prison Reform Trust, said: "A justice system which throws young people off a cliff edge on their 18th birthday, and expects them to fend for themselves in the adult system when they are still maturing and often vulnerable, is not one that is set up to deliver for offenders, victims or local communities."

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman commented: "Significant efforts have been made to divert young people from custody and this has resulted in a welcome reduction in the prison population - down 40% since 2010. But those in custody are in for longer and for more serious offences.

"We recognise the specific challenges associated with this age group and are committed to addressing these."