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Giving something back

Can restorative justice succeed where other rehabilitation methods have failed? Scott Watson reports

9 May 2003

From the short, sharp shock of boot camp borstals to anger management classes, many tools have been used by Governments down the years to try to steer young people away from crime, with varying degrees of success.
The latest initiative, the reprimand and final warning system, was recently hailed by the Home Office as the reason why youth reoffending rates have shown a 22.5 per cent drop over the last year.
Under the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act – which came into force a year ago – if a juvenile commits a minor offence they receive a police reprimand.
Commit another offence and they get a final warning and are referred to a Youth Offending Team, which decides on an intervention and rehabilitation programme suited to the offender.
The courts can also refer convicted young offenders to Youth Justice Panels who decide how best to rehabilitate them.
One rehabilitation method being used increasingly by professionals is restorative justice (RJ). RJ...

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