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"Don't jail under-23s, say researchers", The Guardian

16th November 2005

Jailing offenders under the age of 23 is counterproductive as it increases the likelihood that they will commit more serious crimes, researchers said today.  

Most young offenders "grow out" of crime after the age of 18 with the majority no longer offending after 23, according to the charitable trust Barrow Cadbury.  

It said magistrates should treat young offenders on the basis of their maturity rather than their age, providing more support services to ensure they stay out of trouble as they reach adulthood.

An inquiry set up by the trust said specialist services were needed for offenders aged 18-24 because placing them in the prison system made them more likely to commit more crimes.

The Independent Commission on Young Adults and the Criminal Justice System noted that nearly 75% of offenders in this age range reoffend after being released from prison.  

The study also recommended that young offenders under 23 should not be required to disclose their criminal convictions to potential employers.  

It also called for the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Home Office to set up a young adult advisory group to discuss how young people are policed.  

(c) The Guardian 

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