The latest figures show that fewer County Durham youngsters than ever have found themselves in trouble with the criminal justice system.

Recent data show that only 119 young people from the county entered the youth justice system between April 2017 and March 2018. This is the lowest number ever recorded.

The figures are from the latest update of the Youth Justice Plan, which will be presented by the County Durham Youth Offending Service (CDYOS) at a Durham County Council cabinet meeting next week.

In addition, the plan draws attention to other achievements, such as a lower rate of reoffending and fewer custodial sentences being handed down to youngsters.

This year has also seen the launch of the Skill Mill, a community interest company which provides young offenders with jobs and training under the supervision of CDYOS.

The first group of young people to work with the Skill Mill have now finished their six-month contracts. Three of them are now in employment and none have reoffended.

Durham County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, Cllr Olwyn Gunn, said, “Over the last year, we have worked hard to identify the factors that make it more likely for young people to reoffend and put many interventions in place to tackle these issues.”

“We will continue to focus on reducing first-time entrants to the youth justice system and provide opportunities for education, employment and training, which make a significant impact in preventing further offending.”

“Restorative justice remains at the heart of our work and we are pleased that over the last year we have engaged 192 victims of youth crime in restorative approaches.”

Restorative justice is when offenders meet the victims of their crimes and sometimes representatives of the wider community as well. The aim is to get offenders to take responsibility for their actions, to understand the harm they have caused, to give them a chance to redeem themselves and to discourage them from offending further.

(Featured image courtesy of photocapy, from Flickr Creative Commons.)

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