Recently I visited Remedi, a project established in 1996 which works to rehabilitate young adults at all stages of the criminal justice system, particularly those facing multiple types of disadvantage in their lives, and which works across the country. They’ve recently expanded into restorative justice work with victims of crime.
They have worked with inmates at Doncaster prison over 10 months and seen remarkable success rates – only a handful of the 80 they worked with have been recalled to prison, compared to generally very high recall rates for 18-25 year olds. They’re now rolling out the lessons from this to Barnsley and Rotherham.
We discussed the importance of taking a holistic approach to individuals they work with, and to recognise that they often have multiple complex needs – that offenders can be victims as well. I’m glad that there’s recognition that young people are a group with unique requirements from the criminal justice system, and that Labour PCCs such as those in the West Midlands and Leicestershire have begun developing distinct approaches for criminal justice for 18-25s.
For me, there’s lots of work to be done on access to mental health services, on trauma-informed policing and on cracking down on the numbers of exclusions in schools. Government needs to create the right environment for young people to live, learn and work and at the moment they’ve been deprived of a lot of the support and services they need to do just that.